GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT) Fruita girls soccer didn't lose a game in conference this season and their junior forward has been leading the attack on the offensive end becoming one of the top scorers in the state. The Wildcats received the three seed in their regional and are poised to make a big run in the tournament behind their striker.
Fruita Monument got through the conference season undefeated following the expectations they had. With a new head coach, they didn't miss a beat.
"It feels really good," said junior Lila Dere. "All that hard work and to see it pay off and see it finish that way, it feels really good."
"With a group like this, sometimes as a coach you ask yourself, okay, what is my role here with these guys that have so much skill?" said head coach Ethan Johnson. "With any team, even if they're good, we have certain things to sort out which I think they did real quick. Then, it has just been refining for the past little bit and it's kind of cool."
Junior forward Lila Dere scored 29 goals this season. She's a striker who has bounced back from a struggle with injury.
"Last year, I broke my leg and I remember feeling so frustrated," Dere said. "It's been about a year now that I have been training non stop all through the summer and lifting and trail runs. I shoot about everyday and so I know that's helped me a lot."
She also took up playing basketball this season to help with conditioning. Her success has come from the chemistry with the team.
"We're really united and that has been really nice," said Dere. "Our leaders on this team are really great. The team atmosphere is really fun. You can hear them in the back right now."
"She'll put the ball in the back of the net when it needs to happen but she'll also pass when it needs to happen," said senior Michaela Dangler. "Her decision making is just really good. She is just one of the outstanding players we have. It's really cool to be kind of in the lineup with great players like her.
When the opponents key on Dere, that gives plenty more opportunity for her teammates to shine.
"These teams are trying to take away this player and so we'll have shots from this certain part of the field, we'll try to take that part," said Johnson. "I think they have done just an excellent job and we have had certain players step up."
After getting bounced in the first round of the regional, Dere says this team is ready to make a longer run in the tournament.
"I just know that this team really wants to win and when you are a young player and you lose like that, you have that feeling of losing and you remember how hard it felt," Dere said. "It felt so bad so we just really want to win."