Second half offensive effort helps Grand Junction top Fruita
If Thursday night’s 9-3 win over Fruita Monument was the last time that the Grand Junction High School girls lacrosse team took the field this year, they left their coach pleased.
“Everything we’ve worked for this season, you saw it tonight,” Grand Junction coach Kathaleen Recker said. “The passing, the teamwork, the shooting on goal, the defense — all the pieces we’ve been putting together for all these months, you saw it come together.”
But coming together took a little longer than the Tigers initially hoped. In the first half, Fruita played tight defense, double-teaming Grand Junction’s top scoring threats and limiting the Tigers to only two goals.
Solid passing allowed the Wildcats to take an early lead on a goal by Mikayla Clark. Midway through the half, the Tigers began to find their rhythm — matching both of Fruita’s early goals.
“The girls played great the first half,” Fruita Monument coach Lenny Lang said. “The second half, they just lost their momentum. They weren’t on top of the ground balls like they should have been and we started falling back on our passing again.”
In the second half, the Tigers finally found their offense. Morgan Armbruster scored three goals in a 10-minute span and, after Clark’s second goal of the game, the Tigers finished with four unanswered goals in the final eight minutes.
“They were just making their shots more accurate (in the second half,)” Recker said. “We shot plenty in the first half, they just weren’t going in. So I think they got the hang of where to shoot to make it go in.”
Fruita Monument senior goalie Stephanie Long finished the game with 24 saves on Junction’s 38 shots.
“She’s quick, she’s fast, she does a great job stopping shots,” Lang said. “She’s kept us in several games because of her play. She’s a very good goalie.”
Grand Junction goalie Holly Meer finished with six saves on 23 shots. Amy Flukey also recorded two goals for the Tigers.
Fruita Monument finishes the season Saturday with a game on the road against Mountain League champion Summit. It will be the Wildcats’ fourth game in five days.
Grand Junction could potentially make the state playoffs, although with only the champion of the Mountain League receiving an automatic bid to the tournament, Recker said that chances are slim her team will make it. The bracket is released Monday.
“If it ends (Thursday), we’ll come back stronger next year,” Recker said.