Second-half scoring surge lifts Tigers past Wildcats
If the Grand Junction High School soccer team’s second half of the season mimics the second half of its game Tuesday against Fruita Monument, the Tigers probably won’t have too many complaints.
Grand Junction (3-4, 3-2 Southwestern League) used a four-goal second half to defeat Fruita Monument 5-0 at Walker Field.
“Tonight we clicked,” Grand Junction coach Hal Templeton said. “We had quality passing, numbers where we needed it and the transition game was pretty good.”
The two teams played competitive in the first half, with the only goal coming off of an own goal when Fruita’s Tyler Brickle connected with the ball and sent into the Wildcats’ net. Fruita (2-6-2, 2-2-1 SWL) coach Pat Noland said Brickle took the right approach on the ball.
“It was a good cross by Grand Junction and Tyler was working hard to clear it out,” Noland said. “(Tyler) was trying to clear it and he just hit it wrong.”
In the second half, Grand Junction’s offense came alive, most notably forward Raffi Coté, who scored the first goal of second half off a Erick Villalobos miss in the 46th minute. Coté’s second goal came in the 53rd minute.
“Erick hit a nice shot and the keeper couldn’t get it so I got the rebound,” Coté said. “The second one, (JD) Swartzendruber played the ball really well and all I had to do was hit a little volley over the keeper. It worked out with some good teamwork.”
Templeton said Coté’s speed allows him to create scoring opportunities.
“Raffi is fast, and with that, he is always in the right place at the right time,” Templeton said. “But he is also a very smart player and reads the game well, so he find himself with a lot of opportunities.”
Freshman Aaron Nall scored the Tigers’ fourth goal in the 54th minute and Villalobos rounded out the scoring in the 65th minute.
Grand Junction goalie Caleb Early had eight saves. The Tigers got off 10 shots as a team.
“This helps us with some momentum going into this weekend,” Templeton said.
As for the Wildcats, it was a tough first home game under interim coach Noland, who is in his third game with the team.
“The second half was a letdown,” Noland said. “We stayed with them in the first half, but just got tired and got outrun.”
Although the loss is a bit of a setback, the Wildcats are still in the thick of the SWL race heading into the final five league games.
“I am hopeful they can come together and we can finish out the season well,” Noland said.
Both teams will be in the Four Corners this weekend taking on Durango and Montezuma-Cortez.