GJ’s unusual SWL clincher: Ejection of crowd mars Tigers’ win
A determined Grand Junction High School girls soccer team shook off its disappointment Wednesday night to clinch the Southwestern League title.
One night after losing an overtime heartbreaker to rival Fruita Monument, the Tigers bounced back to defeat Central 5-0 in their Southwestern League finale at Walker Field.
Whitney Ravan scored two goals to lead the Tigers.
“(Tuesday) night was a really big disappointment,” said Ravan, a senior forward. “We wanted to come out hard and show we really are SWL (champs) and we deserve to be SWL (champs).”
Victoria Rentie, Courtney Brady and Danielle Erickson also scored for the Tigers.
Grand Junction (11-3-1, 8-2 SWL) took 20 shots. Central goalkeeper Marissa Brown made 12 saves.
Central (2-13, 0-10 SWL) was limited to one shot, which was saved by Junction goalkeeper Joei Ritter.
“We still ended up with the SWL, so the girls have a lot to be proud of,” Grand Junction coach Adrea Tilford said. “Sometimes luck doesn’t go your way. Thankfully, the hard work paid off in the end.
“Our seeding may be affected, but we have to know it doesn’t matter. At some point, you’re going to have to play someone seeded higher than you and you have to step up to that challenge. Maybe it will be a game earlier than it would’ve, but we can do it.”
The Class 5A state playoff pairings will be announced Sunday.
Ravan, who played despite a sprained ankle, scored the Tigers’ first goal in the 10th minute. It was assisted by Courtney Brady and Jennah Swander.
“The first one I had a really good pass from Jennah Swander,” Ravan said. “She set me up perfectly. I just had to get around a defender and get it in.”
Three minutes later, Rentie scored on an assist from Becca Hansen.
Brady and Erickson each scored one goal before the half for a 4-0 lead.
Ravan made it 5-0 less than two minutes into the second half on a goal assisted by Swander and Stephanie Drake.
“Steph crossed it and it was also perfect,” Ravan said. “I just got to give it up to both my girls.”
Ten minutes later, the entire Grand Junction High School student body was ejected from the game by head official Bob Weiss.
“They were getting rowdy,” Weiss said after the game. “A girl on the red team made a mistake and they were making mocking comments. There was no profanity, but I feel we need to have a higher standard of sportsmanship.
“On the field, taunting is a red card offense.”
Players or coaches issued a red card are immediately ejected from the game and must sit out the next game.
The students said they were simply doing what they often do at games, regardless of the sport.
“When the opponent makes a little mistake, we say, ‘You, you, you,’ ” Grand Junction student Garrett Harrison said. “Only five of us said it, and the ref was right there. He was pretty mad and said we should stop. We said, ‘Go GJ!’ He thought we said something else and kicked us off.”