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State your case

PHS junior Jourdyn Haire cuts upfield while surrounded by Worland Warriors during the Panthers’ 1-0 victory May 9 in Powell. PHS junior Jourdyn Haire cuts upfield while surrounded by Worland Warriors during the Panthers’ 1-0 victory May 9 in Powell. Tribune photo by Dante Geoffrey

Girls search for goals as team gears up for playoff  

The PHS girls’ soccer team finished the 2014 season unfinished.

A 16-game regular season schedule wasn’t enough for the Panthers either to qualify for or to be eliminated from state title contention, and the girls will play Torrington in Lander on Saturday in a do-or-die playoff.

PHS head coach Isaac Reyesmejia said his team was grateful for the opportunity to reach state.

“We have to make the most of it, and I feel pretty good about the opportunity and the team,” Reyesmejia said.

The Trailblazers finished 8-5-1 overall and 2-2 in the Southeast with goal differential of zero (30 for, 30 against).

As of Tuesday evening, Reyesmejia knew little about Torrington’s squad other than record and stats, and he was in the process of tracking down scouting reports and possibly — hopefully — game film.

Acquiring reliable information might be tough for Reyesmejia, who faces the challenge of finding allies as a first-year coach, but regardless of the studying he’s able to do, he knows it’s still just a soccer game.

“At the end of the day they’re a team, 11 players, one goalie,” he said. “Whatever it is, we’re going to be ready for it.

“(I) wish I knew more about them, but we have to do the best we can with what we have.”

No matter what Torrington throws at Powell, the game likely will hinge on the Panthers’ ability to put the ball on, and in, the net.

Since beating Cody 1-0 on April 22, the Panthers have been shut out three times and held to one goal three other games. Only a 3-0 victory in Pinedale yielded multiple goals in that seven-game stretch.

“That’s not going to cut it,” Reyesmejia said.

The solution?

“Score more,” Reyesmejia said. “We just can’t rely on one score and think that’s going to carry us through the game.”

The coach said changes will be made until the right combination is found.

“If that means that we look at different formations and just concentrate a lot more on quality practice and controlling the ball, then that’s what we need to do,” he said.

The Trailblazers are going into Saturday’s contest blind as well, but Reyesmejia is installing new looks in case they are able to scout the Panthers.

“We are not a one-dimensional team,” the coach said. “I have to generate more scoring opportunities for the team. That could mean the formation gets shifted around. I’m going to be working on that all week.”

Powell took Monday off but resumed practice on Tuesday.

“We had a long week last week with three games,” Reyesmejia said.

But the Panthers are relatively healthy after the long season.

“We’re going to go into this thing as rested and injury-free as possible,” Reyesmejia said.

Reyesmejia said he would measure this season’s success by the growth the team made since its first game March 22, not by wins and losses.

“I measure the success of the season by how much every player improved individually and how the team improved collectively,” he said. “If we get past Torrington I’ll be happy, but I’m not going to be satisfied.”

The Panthers will leave Saturday morning for the 2 p.m. game.

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