Tigers fall to Columbine in first round of soccer playoffs
All season long, the Grand Junction High School girls soccer team had gone without seeing a true game-changing player.
On Wednesday at Lakewood Memorial Field, the Tigers had to deal with Columbine’s Kristen Hamilton in a 3-2 overtime loss in the first round of the playoffs.
“I don’t think we’ve seen a team with one player who just stands out this year,” Grand Junction coach Adrea Tilford said.
Hamilton, who had 18 goals prior before Wednesday’s matchup, was limited offensively for the first 80 minutes, but took advantage of a transition defense to score the winning goal six minutes into overtime.
The game, which was played despite rain and snow on the Front Range, was a back-and forth-affair.
The Tigers struck first in the fifth minute when Ashley Wallace scored on a pass from Stephanie Drake.
Three minutes later, the Rebels scored their first goal off the foot of Paige Meyer, who got an assist from Hamilton.
In the 38th minute, Columbine took the lead on a goal by Bri Klomp.
After halftime, Grand Junction came out with a stronger attitude.
“The girls decided they needed to work harder than the other team,” Tilford said.
The work ethic showed as the Tigers outshot Columbine in the second half and hold the Rebels scoreless.
In the 73rd minute, Jenna Short scored on a far-post shot to tie the game on a pass from Chelsey McNeill.
Grand Junction goalie Shari Yurick finished the game with six saves, including multiple stops on breakaways. Columbine goalie Katelyn Phillips had five saves.
Despite the loss, Tilford left the field proud of her team.
“The girls played so well,” Tilford said. “They left it all here (on the field.)”
Tilford felt like even in the loss, her team was able to gain respect and is optimistic for next year, when the Tigers will have the core of their team returning.
Grand Junction loses only five seniors, including Yurick, Jennifer Kelley, Morgan Leaney, Cyrena Grasmick and Stephanie Brady.