GJ’s fast start good enough in victory against Montrose

Grand Junction’s Stefan Roussin, 11, goes up over Montrose’s Enrique Maldonado as the two compete for the ball during the first half of Monday’s game at Canyon View Park.

It was a game of halves and thirds.

Grand Junction High’s boys soccer team got a three-goal first half and held on for a 3-2 Southwestern League win over Montrose on Monday at Canyon View Park

Grand Junction (8-3-2, 3-2-2 SWL) controlled the ball, tempo and pace for much of the first half. Head coach Stephen Latta was pleased with that effort in the first 40 minutes.

“We’re coming off a fall break … so keeping a good mental focus after a break is tough. One of the things I stressed to the boys is just mental focus and effort, having not played a game for a week and coming off an emotional loss (2-1, overtime) to Durango,” he said.

Junior Jake Chaffetz started the scoring for the Tigers, finding the net off a penalty kick.

Jose Avila added the second goal off a header for Grand Junction.

With the score 2-1 late in the first half, Chaffetz made a nifty move with the ball and found some open space, then sent the ball on a deep cross from the left side.

The ball eventually fell to the feet of Enrique Hernandez, who drilled a goal for the 3-1 halftime lead.

The second half looked like it would be more of the same after the Tigers kept up the pressure and had an early corner kick from Chaffetz that resulted in a great chance.

But then Montrose took over and dictated the tempo and control of the game for the next 15 minutes.

Prajwol Chaudhary, who scored the Indians’ first goal, just missed on a shot past the far post.

As the Indians pushed the tempo, they had a number of scoring chances before Jorge Herrera scored to make the score 3-2.

Montrose (5-8, 2-4) had another great chance about three minutes later when Sean Alex drilled a shot from just outside the box that hit the crossbar.

“When it’s all said and done, one of the facets that happens in soccer, is there’s going to be emotion,” Latta said. “I’m going to say Montrose approached us with good effort and good emotion (in the second half), and our boys relaxed a little bit and we just had to get it back together.”

Veteran Montrose coach Jim Pavlich made some adjustments, including moving Herrera into the front line.

“The biggest difference is we started stringing passes together, which then switched the game from our defensive third to their defensive third (of the field) and that created more opportunities for us,” Pavlich said.

The Tigers’ best chance during the Indians’ frenetic second half came when Chaffetz dropped another corner kick into the box. But Montrose goalkeeper Broson Satterley, who came in after halftime, punched the ball safely out.

Grand Junction finally gained control late in the second half and had a goal nullified by a hand ball.

Grand Junction senior defender Logan Hahn, said it was good to come away with the win after surviving the second-half pressure from Montrose.

“The best way to bring it back together is find our composure on the ball offensively,” he said. “If we gain composure back offensively it seems like the composure comes back defensively.”

Fruita 2, Central 0: Fruita Monument (6-5-2, 4-0-2 SWL) kept its grip on the league lead with a win over Central. Sam Pflug scored in the added a goal in the 41st.

Weston King had five saves in goal for Fruita.

The Wildcats finish the regular season with a home game against Durango (10-1, 4-1 SWL) and at Montrose.


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