Grand Junction soccer team hosts Legacy at Walker Field
A perfect season doesn’t exist.
No matter the level or sport, adversity always seems to creep up at some point during the season.
The Grand Junction High School girls soccer team knows this all too well.
“We’ve been through it all,” Grand Junction midfielder Allison Maryanski said. “We’ve had tough losses, had to work through injuries, but we are still very confident and looking for the best.”
The No. 15 seeded Tigers (11-3-1) host No. 18 Legacy (9-6) at 6 p.m. tonight in the Class 5A state soccer playoffs at Walker Field.
“This is a good team that’s worked four years to do what they’ve done,” Grand Junction coach Adrea Tilford said. “They know what hard work is.”
The Tigers began the season 8-1, but had a two-week layoff from April 8 to April 22. After the break, the Tigers played six games in two weeks and suffered one-goal losses to both Durango and Fruita Monument.
Grand Junction also had starters Kyleigh Larson, Whitney Ravan, Ashley Wallace and Maryanski sustain injuries during that time.
“We had a lot of games in a short amount of time,” Tilford said. “Plus it seemed that there were games when everything that could go right for them did, and everything that could go wrong for us did.
“But I’ve always felt losses are a time for growth.”
The Tigers are hoping their season’s path has made them stronger.
“This season has brought us together,” Maryanski said.
“Everyone’s been able to adjust, and I’m so proud of the way we’ve played,” Maryanski said.
Grand Junction’s late-season adversity did little to overshadow its total body of work.
The Tigers scored 55 goals this season, posted nine shutouts, and had 14 of the 18 players on their roster either contribute a goal or an assist.
Grand Junction finished first in the Southwestern League with a team that had eight four-year letter winners.
“There has been a lot to celebrate on this team,” Tilford said. “I hope they’ve realized all they’ve accomplished and how talented they are.”
Grand Junction isn’t satisfied yet.
The Tigers’ opponent tonight, Legacy, finished 7-4 in the Front Range League.
Legacy’s leading scorer is Sade Akindele, who’s scored 16 goals this season, and added 10 assists.
“It’s the state tournament so everyone is tough,” Tilford said. “It was one of our goals to play at home in the playoffs, and they accomplished that.”
The Tigers are 3-1 in games played at Walker Field. Tilford said the familiarity is a welcomed advantage.
“They get to play in front of their fans on a field they know,” Tilford said. “There aren’t as many questions and that gives us a great advantage.”
Fruita Monument, the No. 30 seed, also plays today at 6 p.m. The Wildcats (10-4-1) play No. 3 Dakota Ridge (12-1-2) at Lakewood Memorial Stadium.