Tearful farewell: Tigers’ season ends with first-round soccer playoff loss
The Grand Junction High School girls soccer team showed how sports can build a lifetime bond.
Tuesday at Walker Field, the No. 15-seeded Tigers lost 4-0 to No. 18 Legacy in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.
The Tigers didn’t treat the loss like most teams. The tears that were shed were out of happiness. It looked more like the end of a family reunion than a team that lost a state playoff game to end the season.
“We have a sisterly bond and nothing can break that,” Grand Junction senior Whitney Ravan said. “We’re really just a group of sisters playing together.”
Ravan is one of eight seniors to play all four seasons, and haven’t known any other high school coach besides Adrea Tilford.
“For eight of them, my first year was their first year,” Tilford said. “I’ve been a part of their growing up, we’ve gone through growing pains, we’ve had to push each other, and I’m so thankful that I got to be part of their lives.”
The special group of Tigers didn’t have the final game they wanted. The Lightning’s Lauren Cook scored the game’s first goal in the 23rd minute. The Tigers were trying to keep it a one-goal game heading into halftime, but Legacy’s Eva Tucker scored a goal in the 39th minute to go up 2-0.
“They brought it to us, and they came here ready to play,” Ravan said. “We are still struggling through some injuries, but we could have marked them a little tighter.”
Grand Junction struggled offensively to get clean looks against Legacy goalie Sammy Privett, getting off 10 shots.
“I think the 50-50 balls beat us, and we didn’t take as many shots on goal as we should have,” Grand Junction senior Stephanie Drake said. “But we all had hustle and there wasn’t one player out there who didn’t try their hardest.”
Legacy’s Kelsey Killean pushed the lead to 3-0 in the 56th minute and Jessie Arellano added the final goal in the 74th minute.
Grand Junction’s Lexi Anderson finished with 11 saves.
The Tigers finished the season 11-4-1 and won the Southwestern League.
“This season has been the best I’ve ever played,” Ravan said. “I love all these girls and couldn’t have asked for a better team.”
Dakota Ridge 2, Fruita Monument 0: Kyla Jamison and Kelsey Loupee scored goals for the third-seeded Eagles against No. 30 Fruita.
Fruita Monument (10-5-1) goalie Kylie Goetz finished with 15 saves.
“I’m very proud of the girls,” Fruita Monument coach Eric Anderson said. “We had a great season, and are looking forward to next year.”