Senior Tyler Ouelette scored his eighth and ninth goals of the season, freshman Brekyn Herd tallied his second and the PHS defense shut out the Broncs as Powell improved to 4-0 overall and, for the first time in the program’s history, 2-0 in the Northwest Quadrant.
“All I can do is praise my players,” said Panthers head coach Travis Rapp.
It was the Panthers’ third clean sheet in four games.
“(Keeper) Sean (Wagner is) putting in a lot of work and Noah (Katz is) running that defense like we thought he could,” Rapp said.
Katz, a senior, was extra vocal Monday night, making sure every Bronc was accounted for and every Panther was in his proper spot.
“In order for a three-man defense to run you have to have a sweeper like that,” Rapp said.
Playing against Cody, in a game that could tilt the quadrant and keep one squad from playing at state, may have added some extra motivation.
“I know the boys really wanted to get the win against Cody, (go) 2-0 in the quadrant and try to get us an easier road to state,” Rapp said.
Cody was up for the challenge and played like Powell’s equal for the game’s opening 25 minutes.
“Our touch was pretty bad last night compared to the first three games,” Rapp said Tuesday. “Whenever your first touch leaves two to three yards off your foot you’re pretty much losing possession.”
But the Panthers eventually settled in and Brekyn Herd opened the scoring in the game’s 27th minute by finishing what Ouellette started.
Ouellette took the ball down the right wing and cut toward the right post of the Cody net, which drew out the Broncs’ keeper. Ouellette then fed a low ball parallel to the mouth of the goal across the box to Herd, who one-timed it into the back of the open net.
Ouellette scored his first goal right before the first half’s whistle blew.
With a head of steam he again dribbled into the right side of the box and fired a shot over the Cody keeper and into the top-left corner of the net. Junior Ty Herd earned the assist.
Ouellette struck again in the 49th minute, taking a pass from senior Emilio Raya Jr. and scoring again from the right edge of the box.
Cody’s defenders were asking for an offsides call before Ouellette even took his shot, but the refs didn’t grant their requests.
Senior Heston Swenson didn’t get on the scoresheet but Rapp credited his efforts in the midfield. Swenson managed many Powell possessions and was often the one to initiate the offense.
“He worked his butt off and did a good job of getting back defensively,” the coach said. “He was a big part of what we were doing.”
Wagner made nine saves and the Panthers totaled 12 shots on goal.
Powell pulled out of this weekend’s Green River Invitational due to a heavy load of school activities this weekend.
“Between SATs and prom this weekend we were pretty much going to field a JV squad,” Rapp said.
Instead of competing against the mix of 3A and 4A teams in Green River, the Panthers will stay in Powell until their next match April 22, when they travel to Cody.
“It seems like a midseason break,” Rapp said. “We’re on a pretty good roll so it would be nice to see our next opponent.”
But the Panthers will take the opportunity to rest and fine-tune their game.
“There’s some things that coach (Russ) Schwahn and I have seen over the first five games,” Rapp said.
The Panthers have averaged four goals per game, but their offense has been relatively slowed down the past two contests, in which they’ve totaled five goals. Rapp said Powell needs to push the ball closer to the net rather than trying to generate offense at midfield.
“We were really initiating our offense on goal from 35-40 yards out (against Cody),” Rapp said. “We want to initiate that attack from 25-30 yards (away from the net).”
Rapp wants his offense to maximize its chances.
“We definitely left some,” the coach said. “We could have scored more goals than what we did. (But) you never want to be greedy.”
The break will also allow his star defender to return to full strength.
“I am glad we’ll be able to rest Noah’s foot injury and get 100 percent for the push,” Rapp said.
|PHS boys' soccer schedule|
|22||Pinedale|| 7-0 W
|29||Star Valley|| 4-3 OT
|| 2-0 W
|7||Cody|| 3-0 W
|9||Star Valley||6 p.m.|
| Overall Record: 4-0; Conference: 4-0