Tigers show their teeth
Jay's seven goals help GJ remain perfect vs. Fruita
By the end of the night, Grand Junction High School attacker Kacie Jay had her Tiger Woods fist pump down. Jay scored three goals midway through the first half and sparked a 5-0 run that the Grand Junction girls lacrosse team carried to a 22-13 win over Fruita Monument at Walker Field on Tuesday night.
Down 5-4, Jay rolled around a defender and peeked around the left side of the net before flicking the ball past the near post into the top left corner. The Tigers never trailed after that and outscored Fruita 13-7 in the second half. Jay led the Tigers with seven goals and notched a hat trick less than halfway through the first half. Halle Harrison chipped in four goals, and Megan Gromke, who has verbally committed to play lacrosse for Colorado Mesa University, added one goal.
Spending most of the game behind the net, Jay used her speed and lateral quickness to outpace the Fruita defense. All of her goals were scored directly in front of the net.
“(Jay) just sees the field so well,” Grand Junction coach Alexis Rawlings said. “She comes off the field asking what she can do better.”
The Jay-led run allowed the Tigers to remain undefeated against Fruita Monument in the short history of the two programs, which dates back to 2010. The Tigers have won by double digits in three of their past five meetings against the Wildcats.
“They played in the offseason, so I think that fueled it,” Rawlings said. “It’s easy for them to get ready for this game.”
Grand Junction will have to prepare for a league schedule with high expectations. The Tigers finished in third place in the Mountain Lacrosse League last year at 10-3, behind perennial powerhouse Aspen, which has finished in the top three in the league with the Tigers the past two seasons. Rawlings said the Tigers already have the pieces they need to compete.
“They’re just going to have to keep playing the way they’ve been playing,” Rawlings said.
Fruita Monument stayed close to Grand Junction for most of the first half, aided by goals from Alyssa Urban and Lindsey Burenheide, but the Wildcats eventually were outmatched by the Tigers’ offense.
Burenheide was able to force the ball in front of the net by overpowering smaller Grand Junction defenders. Three of Sullivan’s shots clanked off the post, and two missed wide. She finished with three goals and Urban led the Wildcats with four goals.
“That’s a good team,” Fruita Monument coach Mark Twardowski said. “I think we proved that we were able to get to the crease while hanging onto the ball. We had opportunities. They have a great defense, and it was good to see us battle through that.”
The Wildcats will travel to face Durango on Friday and Grand Junction will go on the road to face Eagle Valley. Eagle Valley hasn’t finished with a winning record since 2009.