Turnaround: Fruita Monument gets revenge in victory over Grand Junction
The first time the Grand Junction and Fruita Monument high school boys lacrosse teams met, things didn’t work out well for the Wildcats, who lost 9-8 in double overtime.
But with that loss came motivation.
The Wildcats used that motivation to beat the Tigers 13-9 in a rematch at Walker Field.
“Tonight they (the team) said, ‘tonight’s the night. We’re winning,’ ” Fruita coach Mark Young said. “Then they came out and they fought.”
And although the Wildcats looked to turn the game into a rout early taking a 9-1 lead into halftime, Grand Junction wasn’t going to go out easily.
“One of the things we told the kids is that the game’s never over,” Grand Junction coach James States said. “You keep fighting through everything you have to fight through.”
The Tigers came out strong after halftime, scoring five unanswered goals in the third quarter.
Luke Olson scored the first goal for the Tigers on an assist from Taylor Watkins. In a 35-second span a few minutes later, Watkins and Stuart Foster combined for a three-goal run, with Watkins scoring twice. Zach Kiel scored with just over four minutes left in the third to narrow Fruita’s lead to 9-6.
“We were up 9-1 and feeling good,” said Young, who warned his team at halftime that Junction had the potential to make a comeback. “I didn’t realize how easy it was for them to do that. They just came back.”
After Kiel scored his second goal of the game two minutes into the final quarter — narrowing the lead to two — Fruita went on a 4-0 run in a five-minute span to increase the lead to 13-7.
The Tigers added a pair of goals late.
In the first quarter, Fruita took the lead less than one minute into the game on A.J. Meil’s goal. With 3:34 left, Ethan Grider was called for a penalty, which the Tigers used to their advantage, scoring on the power play to tie the game. Grider scored to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead after the first quarter.
Grand Junction was forced to start the second quarter a man down when one of their sticks was tested between quarters and wouldn’t release the ball.
The illegal-crosse penalty gave the Wildcats a three-minute advantage, during which they scored two goals.
“Last time (we played), they had a three-minute (penalty) and we didn’t score anything,” Young said. “We worked on a little bit more man up offense the other day and it worked out very well.”
After the power-play advantage, Fruita got its defense going, limiting Grand Junction’s scoring opportunities. The offense scored four more times.
Grider finished with four goals and Meil had three. Jeff Cunningham and Cody Young finished with two goals each.