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Boys soccer chasing a victory

PHS sophomore Trey Ouellette races through the midfield during the Panthers’ 6-0 loss to Jackson on Saturday. PHS sophomore Trey Ouellette races through the midfield during the Panthers’ 6-0 loss to Jackson on Saturday. Tribune photo by Dante Geoffrey

Northwest Quadrant can be clinched with win today  

A season-long three-game losing streak has put a damper on a PHS boys’ soccer season that started with great promise.

But all is not lost as the Panthers have a chance to clinch the Northwest Quadrant and an automatic bid to the state tournament with a win against Worland (4-8, 1-1 in the Northwest) today (Tuesday) at Panther Stadium.

PHS head coach Travis Rapp said his team studied film and engaged in a light practice on Monday in preparation for today’s tilt.

“I know the guys are ready,” he said. “It’s senior night.”

Powell (4-3, 2-1) lost a 2-1 overtime match in Buffalo Friday evening and was no match for Jackson in a 6-0 shutout loss Saturday afternoon.

Saturday’s loss ended a frustrating week for the Panthers, who lost three games in five days, though were a few bounces away from posting a 2-1 record.

“We know we’re right there with those teams,” Rapp said.

A 2-1 loss to Cody April 22 ended Powell’s four-game win streak and Friday’s road defeat felt like one the Panthers could have had. Rapp said a couple key mental miscues cost the Panthers in what was an otherwise evenly played match.

“That’s what’s happened lately,” Rapp said. “We play really well as a team defense and somebody just makes an individual mistake and they (the opponent) capitalize.”

Powell played Buffalo (6-1-1) kick-for-kick until the 68th minute, when it fell behind 1-0. A Bison forward snuck behind the Panther defense and beat PHS keeper Sean Wagner for the go-ahead goal.

As regulation wound down the Panthers pushed their back line up to create more offensive pressure, and in the 79th minute, it paid off.

Senior Tyler Ouellette swung what Rapp called “a beautiful pass” from the right side that senior center-back Noah Katz one-timed into the back of the net.

Powell held the momentum going into overtime and Rapp was “pretty convinced we’d either get a win or a tie.”

But the Bison notched a game-winner in the 96th minute.

Wagner made 15 saves on 17 shots. Rapp said “six or seven” of Wagner’s saves were “phenomenal” and caused assistant coach Russ Schwahn and him to look at each other in disbelief.

Sophomore Trey Ouellette took a knee to his leg but played through the pain to help control the tempo of the game, Rapp said.

Junior Ty Herd nearly scored for the Panthers when, in the first half, he ran down a through ball, dribbled around the Buffalo keeper and fired what the Powell bench thought was a sure goal.

“We were all jumping before the ball was in the net and one of [Buffalo’s] backside defenders came and saved it on the line,” Rapp said.

Katz returned the favor by making a save of his own on the PHS goal line. Rapp said those plays were an indication of how close the contest was.

“Noah with a game-changing play and Ty with almost a game-changing play,” the coach said.

Powell could have used a game-changing play or six against the 9-0 Jackson Broncs on a dreary Saturday afternoon in Powell.

The Broncs poured on three first-half goals before the sky poured on a steady rain to mix with the cold and wind. Jackson then added another three for good measure.

Rapp said the Panthers came out flat Saturday in what was “kind of a copy of the Cody game.”

The coach said some Panthers were “sore, tired from the night before” but they need to be able to perform better under those circumstances.

“We weren’t 100 percent to go against Jackson,” Rapp said. “But looking at state you got to play teams back-to-back-to-back.”

Powell generated few scoring chances and was unable to put serious pressure on the Jackson net.

The Panthers had three throw-ins deep in the Broncs’ zone in the final minute of the first half but didn’t get a shot on goal.

Senior Emilio Raya Jr. floated a PHS corner kick into the box late in the second half but again, Powell was unable to put a finishing touch on it.

Wagner made 12 saves on 18 shots against Jackson.

Tyler Ouellette drew a yellow card for persistent infringement late in the second half. Rapp said his senior striker was frustrated, as many Panthers were, with the game and Jackson’s aggressive style of play. Ouellette also came out for a brief spell in the first half after he tweaked his lower back while going up for a header. Rapp said Tyler’s back was “just stiff” and the injury is nothing serious.

The Panthers can put the weekend behind them with a playoff-clinching victory at 6 p.m. today against the Warriors.

A Northwest Quadrant title would help Powell “avoid a top team in the first round” at state.

 

PHS boys' soccer schedule
MARCH
  22   Pinedale   7-0 W
  29   Star Valley   4-3 OT
APRIL
  4   Worland
  2-0 W
  7   Cody   3-0 W
  22   Cody   2-1 L
  25   Buffalo   2-1 L
  26   Jackson   6-0 L
  29   Worland   6 p.m.
MAY
  2   Lander   6 p.m.
  3   Pinedale   1 p.m.
  9   Star Valley   6 p.m.
  10   Jackson   1 p.m.
  22-24   STATE   TBA
  Overall Record: 4-3; Conference: 2-1

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