Upset Over Fruita’s 6-year Defeat

September 23, 2019

Wednesday night, September 11, at Walker Field, the Fruita Monument soccer team was hungry for a win against the main rival of the valley, the Grand Junction soccer team. After five consecutive years of losing to the Tigers, the Wildcats were aggressive and came out onto the field with the need to win. However, in the end, it simply wasn’t enough and Junction continued their winning streak, taking the victory of 2-1.

With nine seniors on the Fruita team and ten seniors on the Junction team, it was apparent who came to win.

The first half of the game kept the audience on  edge with numerous shots on goal by players on both teams. In the first few minutes of the game, Fruita was called for a handball. Junction senior and captain #27, Enrique Hernadez took the free kick, which was returned by Fruita which sent the ball sailing to midfield. This was received by Junction freshman player #13, Vincente Gutierrez-Truitt, who took a shot on goal and missed. A powerful kick from senior Fruita goalkeeper, Ryan McCloskey, sent the ball down the field to teammate senior #10, Hadley Bird, who took two shots on goal, both of which were blocked by a Junction player. Junction’s defense continued to pressure Bird, even slamming into him at different points throughout the game, realizing he was a clear threat to their defense.

With a handball by Junction, the free kick was taken by senior Fruita player #4, Kyler McKeachnie, who drilled the ball near the goal from midfield. With the Tigers continuing to take multiple shots on goal, some sent goalkeeper McCloskey, diving to save the ball. However, McCloskey could not save them all. As the clock counted down and neared the nine-minute mark, #18 from Junction senior Noad Snodgrass, scored the first goal of the game with an assist from a corner kick from freshman Luis Aguirre. Fruita quickly recovered the ball and delivered a shot on goal by Hadley Bird, which the Junction goalkeeper saved. With nine seconds left, Junction attempted a goal, but overshot and went over the crossbar.

The Junction student section was clearly excited that they were going into the second half with a 1-0 lead. Grand Junction seniors, Dawson Weihl and Carson Pope, say, “I think we are going to win tonight. We need to come into the second half strong and beat the Fruita team!” With Junction remaining in control over the ball and continuing pressure on Fruita by keeping the ball on their side of the field, Junction was clearly bringing their A-game that night. Yet, with many strong players on the Fruita team who are all eager to beat Junction, they could have had the drive and determination that Junction could have lacked.

This became evident when nine minutes into the second half, Fruita senior #9, Christian Torchia scores the first goal for Fruita, tying the game. Six minutes later, Torchia scores another goal. Unfortunately, Torchia’s second goal is called back on the basis of offsides. Shortly afterwards, Fruita is given a yellow card and Junction got a penalty kick. #27 Enrique Hernandez took the kick and scored Junction’s second goal thirty-one minutes into the second half. Throughout the remainder of the half, free kicks are taken by Fruita player #4 and Junction players #19 and #16. Fruita is here to win, as shown by Junction player Luis Aguirre and Fruita star Hadley Bird, when the two went sliding into each other in pursuit of the ball. 

With another attempted shot on goal by Junction player #17 and three injuries on the Fruita tem, Fruita continues to put pressure on each and every Junction player. Fruita sophomore #11, Griffin Cunningham, consistently chased down every Junction player who even got close to the goal, and put pressure on that player. Despite the clock running down, Fruita is relentless in taking the ball down field and shooting, hungry for another goal to tie the game. 

Throughout the game, Junction stayed in control of the ball, ad clean passes, and made the Wildcats work to get the ball from their players. The Fruita players were upset by the loss, but not discouraged and still excited fro their next rivalry game against Grand Junction. Fruita senior Paige Simonson says, “All the Fruita players worked really hard and all worked as a team. I’m really proud of them!” Although with a loss for Fruita and a win for Junction, both teams displayed excellent sportsmanship and played to the best of their ability, making this game one to remember.

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