GJ follows Armbruster’s lead in victory
Score early, score often.
Tuesday, the Grand Junction High School girls lacrosse team did both during its 8-1 victory over Fruita Monument at Canyon View Park.
“We knew if we got the first couple goals, we could get them down,” Grand Junction attack Morgan Armbruster said. “Once they are down, you take it from there.”
Armbruster, a junior, set the tempo for the Tigers, scoring back-to-back goals in the first five minutes. Emma LeFebre added a goal at 17:26 to give Grand Junction (8-1) a 3-0 lead.
“It was a team effort, and we’ve been running well as a team,” Grand Junction coach Kathaleen Recker said. “We played lacrosse like it should be played and that’s in the air, making clean passes.”
With a 3-0 cushion, the Tigers’ defense went to work. Fruita Monument (5-4) struggled to get a clean look on Tigers goalie Holly Meer, thanks to pressure applied by defender Rachel Romero.
“They have a good defense,” Fruita Monument coach Lenny Lang said. “They are tough on double-teams and did a good job.”
After allowing the three early goals, the Wildcats’ defense tightened up, led by goalie Stephanie Long. Fruita limited Grand Junction’s shot opportunities, but took a hit late in the first half when Long received a yellow card and was forced to sit three minutes. Long’s replacement, Jenn Hicks, stepped in and made two quick saves.
Motivated by Hicks’ play in net, the Wildcats managed to get a goal with a little more than one minute remaining in the half. Katie Lewis got the ball past Meer to cut the Tigers’ lead to 3-1 at halftime.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Armbruster said. “We were a little upset for giving up that goal and we knew we needed to get it back.”
In the second half, Armbruster not only answered Lewis’ goal, but added a few more. Armbruster scored three goals in the span of five minutes to push the Tigers’ lead to 6-1 with a little less than 20 minutes remaining.
“It was important to get ahead and build the lead,” Armbruster said. “That gave us the confidence to win.”
LeFebre added the final two goals for the Tigers, and Meer shut the Wildcats out in the second half.
“The key was we held possession so long today,” said Meer, who made six saves. “Plus our defense played huge.”
Grand Junction won the previous match the teams played, but Tuesday’s game was the first that counted in the Mountain League standings. The win gives the Tigers a lot of momentum heading into next week’s game against Summit, the only team that’s beaten Grand Junction this season.
“All season we’ve been shooting to go to state and I think we can do it,” Recker said. “Today was a perfect example of how we can play, and we have to keep that going.”
The Wildcats look to bounce back Thursday at Summit.
“We didn’t have the basics today,” Lang said. “Junction played good, you have to give it to them, they outplayed us.”