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May 12, 2011 7:32 am

Panther boys fall to Worland

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Friday game against Rawlins stands in the way of state

The Powell High School boys’ soccer team wrapped up the regular season with a 5-0 loss at Worland on Tuesday. The loss drops Powell to 3-11 overall and leaves the team needing to defeat Rawlins this Friday in order to achieve a spot in the state tournament.

“We just didn’t play as well as we have this whole season,” said Panther soccer coach Travis Rapp. “We got away from playing to feet and got back into the bad habit of booting the ball upfield.”

It was the second time this season the Panthers have surrendered five goals in a game to Worland.

“We had our chances, but we let some petty stuff take our minds off the game and didn’t really recover that well,” Rapp said.

Despite the struggles, Rapp is confident heading into Friday’s 3 p.m. state qualifier in Lander against Rawlins.

“Keithen Schwahn is doing a great job taking over the sweeper position and we have better continuity offensively moving Dan Katz from the back line up to midfield and Cooper Wise into a more attacking midfielder role.”

Rapp credited the late-season roster juggle with enabling the team to be more aggressive on the outside.

“It lets us push Cody Wichman to a wing position,” Rapp noted.

In drawing Rawlins as its state tournament play-in opponent, the Panthers face a program in its first season of varsity soccer. The two schools played to a 4-1 Panther victory back on the opening weekend of the season.

Rapp is quick to note he expects a different Rawlins bunch this time around.

“They’re more experienced than when we saw them at the jamboree,” Rapp said. “Our team is very different as far as personnel. We were missing some people and have moved some people around since then, so I don’t know how much you can put into that 4-1 win.”

As far as Friday’s rematch, Rapp said his game plan is a simple one.

“We’ll be trying to make an early push at goal and then hold the lead,” he said. “The boys have worked hard this season and deserve a shot at Buffalo in the first round of state.”

The winner of Friday’s game faces Buffalo in one of four state quarterfinal matches in Sheridan the following week.

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