Tigers hold on to top Central in soccer finale
One shot, one goal and Grand Junction took the lead only 38 seconds into the game.
The quick start didn’t lead to a bunch of goals for the Tigers, though.
For the rest of the half Thursday, Grand Junction kept firing shots on goal but couldn’t break the game open, finally hanging on for a 2-1 win over Central at Walker Field.
To start the game, Grand Junction (7-7-1, 4-5-1 Southwestern League) used about four passes, then Tia Wright shot a pass to Taylor Heim who hit the first goal and the 1-0 lead.
The rest of the half, Central goalkeeper Beatrice Torres was very busy but the Warriors’ defense turned away every shot, keeping the score at 1-0 going into the second half.
It was the season finale for both teams and Grand Junction coach Joe Graham was happy to see his team finish the season with a win.
“It’s an important win for our team ... to finish the season with a win after so many tough losses where the ball just didn’t bounce our way,” he said. “So it was nice to see them finish the game with a win.”
Grand Junction took a 2-0 lead when Taylor Chaffetz kicked the ball off a Central defender to give the Tigers a corner kick. Chaffetz then floated the corner kick into the box and Cote Roxi knocked it in for the goal in the 57th minute.
The Tigers were in control, but Central had a few chances in the second half and finally got on the scoreboard in the 68th minute.
Senior Cierra Pennal took possession and worked free with some nifty footwork. She then settled the ball just outside the box and rifled a hard shot at the far post. Grand Junction goalkeeper Guadalupe Torres got a piece of the ball but the hard shot deflected off her hands and into the net to make the score 2-1.
In the first half, Grand Junction controlled the bulk of the possession time and blasted shot after shot at Beatrice Torres
Leah Swander had a great chance, but the Central keeper got a piece of the ball that then glanced off the post.
Central (5-8-1, 2-7-1 SWL) had one of its best chances in the first half when Guadalupe Torres made a sliding grab of a loose ball near the top of the box with a Central player closing in at the 32nd minute.
A couple of minutes later, Wright took a pass from Chaffetz but her shot was just wide of the far post.
In the final 11 minutes of the first half, Central put good pressure on the Tigers’ defense.
For Grand Junction senior captain Shelby Brown, it was an emotional time reflecting on four years with the team.
“I’ve played with the team for four years and it’s great to get a win in the last game, it’s a great send off for us,” she said, her voice cracking. “I just love the team so much, it’s been a great experience.”
Montrose 2, Fruita Monument 1 (OT): Stephanie Rowan scored on a breakaway three minutes into overtime for the game winner.
Rowan scored both goals for the Southwestern League champions.
Fruita Monument’s Shaylee Holt sent the game into overtime with a goal two minutes left in regulation on an assist by Jennis Hart.
Montrose (12-3, 9-1 SWL) also beat Fruita Monument (8-6-1, 6-3-1 SWL) by the same 2-1 score earlier in the season.
The Wildcats finished second in the league and have clinched a Class 5A playoff berth.
Palisade 1, Glenwood Springs 0: The Bulldogs took the lead on a goal by Audrey Rose Kachin in the 33rd minute, then held on to close out the regular season with a win.
Palisade head coach Raina Sorensen said the game turned into a defensive battle with much of the game being played in the middle of the field. Palisade only had five shots and Glenwood Springs seven in the game.
“It was nice to get that goal in the 33rd minute and from there we were able to keep level heads and not let them score,” she said.
Palisade will now wait to find out its seed in the Class 4A playoffs, which will be released Sunday.
Delta 10, Glenwood Springs 2: Tyler Sandoval had a two-run home run in the first inning to lift Delta past Glenwood Springs.
Ethan Keller also had a big day with a double, a triple and three RBI.
Isaiah Kathrein got the win in relief, pitching two innings, giving up one hit and striking out four.
Delta, which is leading the Class 4A Western Slope League, wraps up its regular season on Saturday with a doubleheader in Steamboat Springs