The victory brought their season record to an even 4-4, and according to head coach Jamie Gurule, the win will hopefully infuse the team with the momentum they need as the team enters into a tough stretch of games ahead.
“I really hope this will be a turning point,” he said after Tuesday’s game, which highlighted a Montrose offense that out shot their adversaries nearly 3-1.
While the home team ultimately spearheaded a heated attack against their rivals, the beginning of the match found the Panthers striking first. Senior Brooke Gardner found her way through a still-tentative Indians defense, putting Delta on the board within the first five minutes of play.
“Our passing and defense were shaky to start,” said Gurule of the Lady Indians’ unstable footing to start the game, during which the team scrambled to contain the Panthers’ most dangerous element: Freshman offensive powerhouse Skylyn Webb.
As Delta’s most potent shooter, Webb was aggressive to start the match, nearly ratcheting up her team’s lead to 2-0 before the Indians had a chance to assemble their own counter-attack.
“We had to contain Webb on defense,” Gurule said. A pep-talk to this effect reignited the Indians’ focus, and the ladies returned to the task with renewed spirit.
Madison Gurule found the back of the net to tie the match, and before the first half was over Montrose held the 2-1 lead thanks to a late-period bullet fired from Nicole Hoelzer.
Returning in the second, the Indians knew they weren’t out of the woods yet – and played that way, with exacting passing in the midfield from Hannah Robertson whose skillful footwork helped set-up many an offensive attempt from fast Montrose runners like Kia Peters and Marcela Palefsky. Montrose struck while the iron was hot, landing their third goal early thanks to another precise offensive blast from Gurule.
The Indians maintained the 3-1 lead for much of the rest of the half, although Delta initiated a mid-period offensive drive that gave Montrose’s Khristian Gilham a few tenuous moments in the net. Indians defense remained strong, however, with Shannon Garcia holding down the fortress behind the center line.
Montrose resumed their offensive push late in the match, with near-misses jettisoned from the able and controlled feet of Hoelzer, Becca Beshoar, and Gurule. With only minutes left on the game clock, Gurule and her offense finally hit the mark. The 4-1 score shattered Delta’s hopes of staging any kind of comeback, and Montrose left the field at the whistle visibly relieved to have posted the home-field win.
The Lady Indians face 5A powerhouse Grand Junction at Mesa State this Friday, a game coach Gurule said will test the girls’ talents. They next play Eagle Valley at home on Tuesday, April 20.
The key to the Indians’ return to their conquering ways (the girls started the season 3-1, but until Tuesday’s game had suffered a three-game losing streak) will depend on the team’s offense’s ability to “finish,” Gurule said.
“We had 20 shots on goal tonight, and only four went in,” he said. “We’ve got to get that percentage up. It’s a matter of putting [the ball] in the corners.”