Fruita stifles Central in shutout
In the 25th minute of Tuesday night’s game at Walker Field, the Fruita Monument High School girls soccer team set the tone.
McKenzie King stole the ball in the middle of the field and dribbled into an open space in the Central defense. From 35 yards out, she crossed the ball to Jennis Hart, who scored on an easy header.
From there, the Wildcats (10-4, 6-2 Southwestern League) rolled to a 5-0 win, and held Central (1-10-1, 0-7 SWL) shotless for the second time this season.
“We’re essentially solid from back line to midfield to forwards,” Fruita coach Eric Anderson said. “It’s cool to see that we haven’t allowed a shot to Central because that’s something we’re not actively paying attention to during games. It’s a huge lift for defenders and goalies. They love not being put out there and shot on all game.
“It also makes our jobs easier as coaches, because there is nothing to correct and we can just have them pass the ball like they know how to.”
Tuesday’s shutout was a fitting way to end the home schedule for the Wildcats, who were dominant at home. Other than a loss at Walker Field to Grand Junction, Fruita didn’t drop another home contest. The Wildcats outscored their opponents 15-5 at home, as opposed to 10-8 on the road.
Although Fruita is a young team, Katie Benton is one of two seniors who went through a coaching change during her sophomore year. According to Benton, the new staff has allowed Fruita to compete in the SWL.
“These coaches brought a lot more of the technical aspects of the game to us, as opposed to just throwing us together this year,” Benton said. “They push us hard and make it a fun environment so we want to go out and have fun and work together as family.”
Fruita’s win creates a log jam atop the SWL standings. Grand Junction currently leads, but Fruita sits a half-game behind, tied with Durango. Montrose is a half-game behind Fruita.
Central gets a chance to erase its winless league mark against 1-6 Montezuma-Cortez on Friday.
Fruita’s final game against Montrose next Tuesday likely will decide playoff positioning.
“Every game from now on is very important for us,” Anderson said. “We put ourselves in a tough spot when we lost to Junction and again with Durango. After a game like Durango, it was huge for us to come back and put some points on the board, and hopefully we can use that to propel us.
“The girls are in high spirits now and they’re going to need that against Montrose, because Montrose is a tough team.”