GJ Fire’s run ends with loss

The Grand Junction Fire FC Premier girls soccer team’s run ended Friday in the U13 Far West Regional Tournament in Albuquerque, N.M., with a 2-1 loss to Sereno 97 White of Arizona.

In the quarterfinals, the Fire allowed a goal with eight minutes remaining and was eliminated from the tournament.

“I was proud of the effort, just disappointed in the result,” Fire coach Alex Chaffetz said. “I feel we outplayed them, but their experience might have helped them pull it out.”

The teams were tied 0-0 at halftime. Sereno struck first in the second half.

The Fire responded with 15 minutes remaining when Leah Swander tied the game at 1-1.

“We had our opportunities,” Chaffetz said. “Sereno was very gracious afterwards and they understood that Grand Junction gave them a good game.”

The Fire were the first team west of C-470 to represent Colorado in a Far West Regional, and the team didn’t disappoint.

The Fire finished with a 2-2 record, with wins over the state champions from Utah and New Mexico.

This Fire FC team will move to the U14 age group in the fall.

“There was a point a few years ago when there were people that thought we shouldn’t be in the premier league, which is the top 10 teams in the state,” Chaffetz said.

“We left (Friday) as one of the top eight teams in the Western United States, so if nothing else, we recognized that we have a team that’s as talented as anyone out there.”


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