Getting back up: Yurick’s return from collision fuels Grand Junction’s rally
There are moments when a team finds its spark.
On Thursday, the Grand Junction High School soccer team had one of those moments in a 4-1 win over Central at Walker Field.
The moment itself came when just over 24 minutes in, with Central leading 1-0.
Going for a ball, Central forward Haleigh Higgins knocked over goalie Sharie Yurick, nearly injuring the senior. No card was issued and Yurick stayed in the game but play was stopped momentarily to deal with the injury.
When Yurick got back up, so did the Tigers.
“We realized that if she was hurt, we couldn’t even let it get into the back (of the field),” Junction forward Stephanie Drake said.
“Together we played as a team and tried to keep it at midfield and beyond.”
Grand Junction coach Adrea Tilford felt like part of the improved play was simply because Yurick stayed in the game.
“She fought through that, stood up and was part of it,” Tilford said about Yurick. “I think that sends such a message to your teammates that you want to be out there and you’re out there for each other.”
Six and a half minutes after the collision, Drake had her first goal of the game, scoring on a rebound of one of her own shots.
Drake finished with a hat trick, taking advantage of long passes from teammates to score twice in the second half.
Although she finished with the hat trick, Drake was quick to praise her teammates.
“Our goal is to keep them spread out so we can make runs inside towards the goal,” Drake said. “If it weren’t for any of my teammates, I wouldn’t have had one goal.”
Kirsten Ryan also scored in the final two minutes of the game.
The Tigers’ defense limited Central to only eight shots, five of which were on goal.
Central was playing its last home game of the year and had senior day celebrations prior to the game
It was only fitting that the team got its only goal from senior Stacey Kinnett, who scored on a pass from fellow senior Ashley Paul only 40 seconds in.
In goal, Tayler Else, also a senior, finished with 10 saves for the Warriors and made several stops on one-on-one opportunities.
“I can’t believed she’s never played soccer before in her life and she had 10 saves,” Central coach Doug Beach said about the converted softball player.
“Every game she gets better and you can’t take anything away from her. She’s never picked up a soccer ball (before this year) and she comes out here and she’s making saves that are incredible.”
Grand Junction (8-3, 6-2 Southwestern League) has the weekend off before going to play at Smoky Hill and George Washington high schools on April 30 and May 1.
Central (6-6, 2-5 SWL) also has the weekend off and will travel to Durango and Cortez for games on April 30 and May 1.
The Fruita Monument golf team was scheduled to play at the Aspen Invitational on Thursday, however the tournament was cancelled because of inclement weather.
Fruita coach Tim Coit said that the tournament will be rescheduled to May 6.
The Wildcats, along with Central and Palisade, will play at the Moffat County Invitational on Monday in Craig.