Hale’s big goal lifts Fruita Monument girls soccer team past Grand Junction
Michael Jordan had “The Shot,” John Elway orchestrated “The Drive,” and Tuesday night at Walker Field, Fruita Monument’s Megan Hale made “The Goal.”
Hale broke a scoreless tie against Grand Junction with 1:30 remaining in the second overtime to give the Wildcats a 1-0 victory.
Hale took a pass from Jesse Siddeek outside of the 18-yard box and struck a ball that sailed over Grand Junction goalie Lexi Anderson’s head.
“I’d been open the entire night and I was calling for balls and Jesse sent me a perfect ball,” Hale, a sophomore, said. “I was thinking ‘this has to go high,’ and it worked out.”
Hale was open for the shot, and had time to collect herself before taking the shot.
“I was looking for Megan and she was open,” Siddeek, a senior, said. “(Hale’s goal) was the most amazing feeling I’ve felt in these four years on the field at Fruita Monument.”
Hale started the game as a defender, but was moved around to utilize her abilities.
“We started her in the defense because she’s quick and shifty, but we needed some more speed up top,” Fruita Monument coach Eric Anderson said. “She did exactly what we told her do, and she had great composure and confidence in that moment.”
Hale’s goal capped off the hard-fought matchup.
Fruita Monument (10-4-1, 5-2-1 Southwestern League) was playing in its final game of the regular season, and wanted to avenge a 2-0 loss from earlier in the season to the Tigers.
“I told them we are out to get (Grand Junction),” Anderson said. “But it was going to have to be a team effort, and that’s what it was.”
Grand Junction (10-3-1, 7-2 SWL) was coming off a solid weekend in Denver, but lost starting midfielder Kyleigh Larson to a knee injury during that trip, and faced more adversity early against the Wildcats.
One of the Tigers’ top strikers, Ashley Wallace, left with a knee injury in the first half.
“We have some starters out with injuries but they are fighting through it,” Grand Junction coach Adrea Tilford said. “They have a lot of heart.”
Both teams had scoring opportunities in regulation, including a free kick from the Tigers’ Allison Maryanski in the 79th minute that Fruita Monument goalie Kylie Goetz saved.
“It was a good game by both teams,” Anderson said. “It was well played.”
The Tigers controlled possession for the first overtime, but couldn’t get any shots on Goetz.
Goetz finished with 10 saves.
Fruita Monument dominated possession in the second overtime and had two looks at the goal before Hale’s shot ended it in the 88th minute.
“We would have been happy (with a draw),” Hale said. “But we needed to make a point. We needed that win.”
Grand Junction finishes its regular season tonight against Central.