For the Montezuma-Cortez High School girls soccer team, a two-game season ending home stand ended without a win or even a tie.
After consecutive losses to Fruita Monument and Grand Junction however, players exited the field with their heads held high, proud their improvements over the course of the season.
Panthers lose tight contest to Fruita
Opening the weekend against Fruita Monument on April 25, the Panthers played their best game of the year, losing 1-0 in what turned out to be a highly competitive contest.
Looking strong throughout the early stages of the first half, M-CHS maintained their defensive shape, moved the ball well and played fundamentally sound soccer.
Midway through the first half however, Fruita finally broke through, scoring after Courtney Coffey broke free and fired a pretty shot into the back of the net.
Although M-CHS continued playing well throughout the remainder of the contest, the Panthers were unable to score before time expired.
Even with the loss however, Panthers’ head coach Nathan Ross expressed satisfaction with what he believed was his team’s finest performance of the season.
“It was a phenomenal game for us,” said Ross. “We were moving the ball well, we were competing on all fronts and our defense played outstanding.”
“We stepped up and didn’t let (Fruita) push us around,” added Panthers’ senior Aubrey Lopez.
Panthers struggle in loss to GJ
Hoping to continue their tough play at home against Grand Junction on April 26, the Panthers did not fair as well, losing 5-0 in their final game of the season.
Contributing to the Panthers’ loss was a difficult first three minutes that saw Grand Junction’s Leah Swander and Taylor Chaffetz each score.
Trailing 2-0, the Panthers managed to keep Grand Junction off the board for the next 25 minutes courtesy of several pretty saves by goalie Elizabeth Loschert.
Grand Junction’s offense again broke through however, scoring their third goal of the first half on a long, bending free kick by Taylor Kochevar.
Although the Panthers played better in the second half, nearly scoring in the 65th minute on a pretty shot by Cortney Cashner, second half goals by Chaffetz and Tia Wright doomed M-CHS.
As disappointing as the loss was for the Panthers however, seniors Marlana Lopez, Aubrey Lopez and Kenna Tarr remarked that this year’s team would not be defined by its final game.
“This year’s team was a lot of fun,” said Tarr. “I think we clicked well.”
“This year was a good experience,” added Marlana Lopez. “I’ve learned a lot and I’ve been able to grow.”