GJ girls lacrosse team continues to show improvement

Grand Junction’s Kristina Sewell gets ready to pass to Amanda Cole, 6, on Friday during the Tigers’ 18-7 victory over Steamboat Springs. Sewell scored three goals in Grand Junction’s win at Long Family Park.

The passes are more accurate, a little more crisp, the ground balls aren’t as elusive, and the team is playing better.

The Grand Junction High School girls lacrosse team seems to be getting better every time it takes the field, and on Friday the Tigers routed Steamboat Springs 18-7 at Long Family Park.

The Tigers, playing a more polished game than they demonstrated earlier this season, overwhelmed the overmatched Sailors early to take a 13-2 lead at the half to start a running clock.

First-year coach Amanda Simon said the key is focusing on the basics to make the team better.

“We’ve been working on basic skills — catching, passing, ground balls — the basic stuff that it takes to win games,” she said.

It’s the type of things that take time, but when those fundamentals suffer, the team suffers.

The other piece of the improvement puzzle is what comes with playing experience, she said.

“We had a few senior spots that we had to fill and leadership spots to fill, and we’ve been working on finding that leadership and finding that overall team communication and team motivation,” she said.

Grand Junction (4-4, 3-1 Mountain League) dominated the first half with far better ball skills than the Sailors.

With the score 10-2, freshman goalie Brandi Elder made two nice saves, and the Tigers turned good defense into quick offense with Catie Mercado scoring the first of her two goals in the game.

Sophomore Kristina Sewell, who scored three goals, said it’s been “awesome” how the team has developed over the season.

“This season started out kind of slow, but we’ve started working together a lot more, and communication and ball skills have improved a lot,” she said

Delaney Robison led the Tigers with five goals, and Halle Harrison and Ashley Preuss each scored three times.

Robison played a good all-around game, finishing with six assists.

With the running clock, the Tigers turned down the intensity a little and continued to work on fundamentals. Steamboat (1-8, 1-6 ML) took advantage and scored five goals in the second half.

Simon, who played at perennial lacrosse power Cherry Creek High School and Colorado Mesa University, said she wants her players to develop into overall players.

“A lot of girls have stepped up and filled positions where needed and played both sides of the ball (this season), and that’s what we want,” she said.

She said developing the overall player will make for a better overall team, and she said some players have even stepped in and played goalie at times.

The improved Tigers have now moved into contention in the Mountain League standings and have a rematch against Fruita Monument on Wednesday. The league-leading Wildcats (9-1, 4-0 ML) won the first meeting 13-8.


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