GJ quick to take control of soccer game

It took only 11 minutes for Grand Junction High School’s soccer team to change the game in its Southwest League opener, a 9-1 win against Central.

In an 11-minute span from the eighth to 19th minute, Tiger forwards Tim Hofer and Brendan Ryan combined to score three goals past Central goalkeeper Conor Beach to give the Tigers
a three-goal lead at halftime.

“We knew Central was going to be hard but we had to go out there and give it all we’ve got,” Ryan said.

“We got the feel of it later on, and we were doing pretty good passing it around. Basically it was a team effort.”

Hofer and Ryan each finished the game with hat tricks, with Ryan also logging an assist.

The Tigers held their own on both sides of the ball, limiting Central to four shots on goal and putting up 13 of their own.

“Our defense is very solid and it’s not just because each individual defender is so good, it’s because they work as a unit,” Grand Junction coach Stephen Latta said.

“They know that they don’t need to rush, they don’t need to press toward the front. They’re going to set the foundation for the attack that’s coming.”

The Warriors looked as if they might mount a second-half comeback three minutes into the half when senior mid-fielder Jeff Krizman scored a goal off a rebound by Grand Junction goalie Caleb Ealey.

It didn’t take long for the Tigers to come back, though. Only 30 seconds later, Hofer put in his second goal of the game and his third came only three minutes later in the 33rd minute.

With 23 minutes left in the game, Beach was run into by Tiger forward Sean Burkson.

Although Beach went down hard, breaking his knee brace, there was no card issued.

On the ensuing play, Burkson got the ball and put it past Beach to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead.
Beach was later taken out of the game, a move Central coach Doug Beach said was for safety concerns because of the broken knee brace.
Conor Beach’s replacement, freshman Jesse Lopez, recorded three saves and allowed two goals in the final minutes of the game.

Latta said he was happy with the Tigers’ focus and stressed to them to not be complacent with the win as they prepare for their next game.


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