Tough luck at home for Wildcats
Fruita Monument falls to Thompson Valley
The Fruita Monument High School boys lacrosse team has been on the wrong end of some big runs lately.
After starting the season 4-0, the Wildcats have dropped three straight, the past two loses stemming from second-half scoring runs. Wednesday against Thompson Valley, Fruita couldn’t overcome a 9-1 run, falling 12-4 at Stocker Stadium.
A controversial illegal body check call at the end of the first half gave Archer Maddox a one-minute penalty. From there, the Wildcats struggled.
“Our clears stunk,” Fruita coach Mark Young said. “Up until halftime we were fantastic, then they scored three or four goals, we kept turning the ball over, and the boys were just mentally out of it from there. You saw it in their eyes. They couldn’t clear, they couldn’t pick up a ground ball.”
After five road games to open the season, Fruita (4-3, 4-2 Mountain Lacrosse League) has dropped two of three at home.
The past three losses have been against three top teams. Steamboat Springs and Battle Mountain are first and second, respectively, in the MLL.
Thompson Valley (3-4, 0-1 Northern Lacrosse League) has state powerhouses Monarch and Fort Collins in its league.
“They want to keep fighting against these teams, but for some reason it gasses them out,” Young said. “We have eight games left. These were our three toughest games, so it’s important that we started 4-0.
“I thought we played well against Battle Mountain, but had some problems defensively. Against Steamboat and again today, we got down and things just weren’t going our way.”
Despite the slump, Young said the Wildcats have plenty of season left to turn it back around.
“Our next practice will be a soul-searching one. I’m hoping the kids don’t get so far down that they take themselves out,” he said, “because they need to understand that we’ve lost three games, but we have eight games to go. We can still have a fantastic record.”
Thompson Valley settled into its offense early and controlled possession, with 32 shots on goal. Fruita turned the ball over 14 times in the midfield and struggled to push the ball into its offensive zone.
“I think for that last quarter, (Thompson Valley) had the ball at our end for maybe nine of the 12 minutes,” Young said. “We just didn’t look good.”
Four different Wildcats scored. Wyatt Allen added his ninth assist of the season, a team high.
Corey Henricksen had a season-high 20 saves.
Fruita continues its stretch of home games, hosting Eagle Valley on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Canyon View Park. Fruita opened the season against Eagle Valley, winning 10-2.
It came down to doubles for rivals Grand Junction and Fruita Monument, and the Tigers won the one match they needed for a 4-3 victory.
Grand Junction swept the singles, with Kylie Pond winning 6-0, 6-0 against the Wildcats’ Grace Gaglione at No. 1, and Nicky Arja and Anne Hughes winning tough matches at No. 2 and No. 3.
Fruita responded by winning at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles, with McKenna Griffiths and Jacque Soychak winning a second-set tiebreaker at No. 2 over Ruby Gutierrez and Bree Ziola, to cut the lead to 3-2.
Natalie Sufka and Carsyn Fritzler clinched it for the Tigers with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Taylor Poudrier and Shannon Hautzinger.
Grand Junction limited Eagle Valley to two goals in the second half in a 10-5 Mountain Lacrosse League game in Gypsum.
Kacie Jay led the Tigers (3-0, 3-0 MLL) with four goals and Emma LeFebre scored three.
Anna Wedekin, Morgan Emmons and Megan Gromke each scored one goal.
Grand Junction goalie Holly Meer had 21 saves.