Keeping it simple leads to win for Grand Junction soccer team
Grand Junction wanted to get back to the basics, and the strategy worked.
Using good ball movement and dominating the play, the Tigers beat Montezuma-Cortez 5-0 in a Southwestern League girls soccer game at Long Family Park on Friday.
Taylor Chaffetz and Taylor Hein scored two goals each to help lead the Tigers (1-2, 1-0 SWL) to their first win of the season.
Coach Joe Graham said after opening the season with two losses, he wanted the team to simplify its approach.
“Our goal was to practice playing solid defense, have good transitions and have simple one-two touches, and swing the ball a lot,” he said. “We wanted to be a lot more simple with our soccer.”
The game plan worked well with the Tigers maintaining possession and keeping the pressure up throughout the first half as they had seven shots on goal.
Chaffetz finally found the net at the 16-minute mark.
After Sam Melchor hustled to gain possession, she sent the ball into the box, where Chaffetz settled the ball, did a pirouette and drilled a high shot inside the far post.
While Montezuma-Cortez goalkeeper Liz Loschert was busy throughout the game, Grand Junction goalkeeper Guadalupe Torres saw little pressure from the Panthers.
With the Tigers dictating the action, only a few balls trickled into Torres’ neighborhood in each half.
Loschert played well in the first half and survived the shooting gallery with only the one goal finding the net. She made a great leaping save in which she tapped a shot over the crossbar.
Grand Junction went on the attack early, and Leah Swander had the first shot on goal just two minutes in. The sophomore forward had a number of chances in the first half, including off a corner kick from Chaffetz. Swander had more chances in the second half and finally found the net late in the game, scoring Grand Junction’s fifth goal.
Grand Junction came out in the second half and kept the pressure up, and it was only a matter of time before the relentless pressure paid off.
In the 62nd minute, Chaffetz drilled a penalty kick in for a 2-0 lead.
Two minutes later, Hein had a nice goal when she took a pass, settled the ball and shot it past Loschert. Hein, a freshman, picked up her second goal of the game a few minutes later on a penalty kick.
The Tigers were shut out in their first two games of the season, and Graham said they needed to slow things down to be successful.
“We really played frantic when we got behind in our first two games, and we really forced things,” he said.
As the first half progressed Friday, Graham said the team did an excellent job with its possessions, even though they only found the net once.
The win was precisely what Graham was hoping for after the losses to Columbine and Ralston Valley.
“This is exactly what this team needed, and now we’re going into a really tough game against a really good team in Durango,” he said of today’s SWL contest against the Demons.