Tigers' 2nd-half goal enough against Central

Grand Junction High School’s Elle Lucero, left and Central High School’s Rylea Rottman fight for a loose ball Tuesday evening at Walker Field. The Tigers beat the Warriors, 1-0.

The Grand Junction High School girls soccer team had its chances but the scoreboard never changed.

Finally, in the 52nd minute, a freshman came through for the Tigers with a goal, and it was enough for a 1-0 Southwestern League win over Central on Tuesday at Walker Field.

Isa Sanchez hit the game winner off a corner-kick assist from Lucy Raaum in the 52nd minute. It was a big relief, especially considering the Tigers lost a tough 1-0 overtime game to Central back on April 7.

“We had possession for most of the (earlier) game but we just couldn’t finish, and our mindset since then was to just finish. And we finally did,” Raaum said.

Sanchez agreed.

“After that last loss it was really hard on us and this game, we wanted to bring our all and push even harder, and that’s what we did,” she said.

Raaum had a couple of well-placed corner kicks in the second half, including one in the 44th minute that Central goalkeeper Nikki Madaris snagged out of mid-air.

On the goal, Raaum’s kick made it into the box and after it briefly caromed away, Sanchez quickly settled the ball and popped it into the net just inside the far post. It was the freshman’s first varsity goal.

“I got the ball at my feet, I looked up and decided to take the shot and it went in, thankfully,” Sanchez said with a laugh.

Not only was it a big league win for Grand Junction (7-2, 2-2 SWL) but it also snapped a six-game losing streak at Walker Field dating back to last year.

“It’s pretty easy to notice when you have a losing streak on this field,” Raaum said. “There’s a lot of people who come out and watch, you’re under the lights and it’s our favorite game of the season, and that makes it tough to lose on this field.”

Grand Junction coach Joe Graham said the two games against Central were very similar.

“We just needed to finish, we just needed that little extra effort, and Isa provided that tonight,” Graham said. “I think we had pretty much the same number of opportunities as before. It was great to see a freshman that works so hard in practice get (the goal).”

Just like the first game, the two teams battled, traded possession control and had scoring opportunities.

After Central (5-5, 1-2 SWL) controlled possession early in the second half, Raaum had a chance but her left-footed shot was snagged by Madaris.

One of Central’s best opportunities, came when Rosalia Martinez rifled a hard shot from 25 yards out but right at Tigers’ goalkeeper K.K. Lacy, who made the save.

Shortly before the goal, Grand Junction had another good opportunity when Taylor Hein shot a nice lead pass to Raaum but her shot went wide, past the far post.

Hein later followed with a shot from inside the box, but Madaris made a great save scrambling to her left.

In the first half Rylea Rottman made a good run in the 28th minute and her shot skipped just wide.

A couple of minutes later, she had another chance flashing her speed and ball control. Her shot was saved by Lacy at the near post.

Graham made a point to congratulate his team after the game on snapping the Walker Field losing streak.

“That was all last year in this stadium and two games this year, it just starts to become tough to believe, and these girls broke that tonight and they worked hard to make that happen,” he said.


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