Grand Junction girls lacrosse team thrilled to host Douglas County
The Grand Junction High School girls lacrosse players and coaches wear it on their wrists.
“GJHS Lax 2011. Believe.’
The orange wrist bands have served as a reminder of their team motto, ‘Believe.’
The Tigers believed they could make history and they did, winning their first Mountain League title and qualifying for the Colorado all-classification state tournament in the program’s second year.
Grand Junction (14-1) received the 13th seed and hosts No. 20 seed Douglas County (9-6) at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Mesa State College’s Walker Field. Admission is $5 for students and $6 for adults.
“It’s a special team,” Grand Junction coach Kathaleen Recker said. “The girls are from three high schools and part of the success is chemistry. They are all focused on this goal. Every single person attended camps and did off-season conditioning. It’s lucky if you get to experience this. One of the girls said this is a dream team. It really is, we have a special chemistry.”
The team, which consists of students from Central, Grand Junction and Palisade, had no trouble putting aside school alliances to come together for a common goal.
“Being on this team, we all grew together like a family,” Central senior and co-captain Maddie Spor said.
“We do stuff outside of practice to get to know each other, like go to movies,” Spor said.
Tigers senior and co-captain Santana Martinez agreed.
“I think our passion and heart for the game (brought us together),” she said. “Every day at practice each and every one of these girls wants to be here. It’s easy to lead a team that wants to be here.”
Martinez is second on the team in scoring with 46 goals and 11 assists, but it’s her vocal leadership that’s been helpful.
“Santana has a gift to inspire,” Recker said. “I can give you two examples she’s turned games around. We were down 8-3 against Aspen and she said, ‘Come on girls lets have the biggest turnaround in lacrosse history.’ She scored a goal and it happened.
“The second game was against Aspen as well. It was tight the whole time. We were losing the draw every time. We were down two points with 31⁄2 minutes to go. I told her to get the ball (off draws) and she did. She picked up a loose ball off the draw and we scored.”
Spor has inspired teammates with her hard work, dedication and respect.
“She’s quiet and reserved, but definitely has the leadership on her team,” Recker said. “She was a new player on a new team last year, but immediately clicked with everyone on the team. She leads by example. The girls respect her.”
Spor has helped lure more players out of Central High School this season, talking with other Central students and putting up posters in the school.
Along with players like Kacie Jay, who leads the team in goals with 50, and goalkeeper Holly Meer (141 saves), the Tigers believe they can accomplish even more this season.
“With our record (10-2) last year, we knew we wanted to go further this year,” Spor said. “We had a good chemistry this year. We knew we wanted to go to state.”
Grand Junction plays a Douglas County team that beat the Tigers 13-12 on April 30 in Castle Rock.
“That’s just fate, right? I didn’t know if we’d host,” Recker said. “When (District 51 Athletic Director) Paul Cain told me, I almost cried. We know we can win. I think them beating us helped them get in the tournament. The most fun thing, (assistant coach) Kate Diamond, came out of Douglas County. She played with some of those girls. She’s just two years removed. They treated us really well.”
“That was the best lacrosse game we played all season.”
The winner advances to the second round Saturday to play an opponent based on remaining seeds.