Heart Mountain U15 finish season on winning note

Team posts 5-7-1 record, second in Snickers Cup

Posted 6/20/19

The Heart Mountain U15 soccer team had a busy but productive spring, competing in four tournaments throughout April and May.

Led by head coach Brian Orr, the U15 compiled a 5-7-1 record, …

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Heart Mountain U15 finish season on winning note

Team posts 5-7-1 record, second in Snickers Cup


The Heart Mountain U15 soccer team had a busy but productive spring, competing in four tournaments throughout April and May.

Led by head coach Brian Orr, the U15 compiled a 5-7-1 record, highlighted by a second-place finish at the Snickers Cup in Sheridan. Heart Mountain lost in the championship game to Sheridan 8-1, but Orr said just advancing to the title game was a win for the team.

“We took second place in the U15 bracket with a mix of 13, 14 and 15-year-old kids, which is quite impressive,” he said. “These kids are going to be the ‘second wave’ of players for the high school team, so getting exposure to playing teams much older will help down the road. We actually played our best game against Sheridan in the championship game, even though the score doesn’t indicate it.”


Magic City Classic-Billings

Heart Mountain opened the season April 27-28 at the Magic City Classic in Billings, posting a 2-1 record.

Against the Bozeman Blitz in the opening round, Heart Mountain squeaked out a 1-0 win, relying on a tenacious defense. Gunnar Erickson scored the gamewinner in the second half, while defenders Landon Hernandez, JT Prosser, Jacob Orr and Parker Williams kept Bozeman’s scoring chances to a minimum.

“The defense was great all weekend,” coach Orr said.

Goals came early and often in the second game against the Great Falls Rush, with Heart Mountain winning in a 10-0 rout. Goals were scored by Colton Brewer, Chance Franks, Erickson, Landon Hernandez, JT Prosser, Rivers Carrell and Trey Wambeke.

“It was a complete game, and all the players contributed,” coach Orr said.

After posting back-to-back shutouts, Heart Mountain ran into an offensive buzzsaw against Billings United, losing 6-0 to the eventual champions.

“Size, speed and technical ability — they have it all,” coach Orr said. “I’d be surprised if any Wyoming team could beat them, honestly.”

One bright spot of the contest was the play of keeper Holden Cooper.

“Cooper, our goalie, was phenomenal,” coach Orr said. “The score would have been a lot worse without him, stopping many through-ball attacks and several other chances.”


Snickers Cup-Sheridan

Heart Mountain traveled to Sheridan May 4-5 for the Snickers Cup and advanced to the championship game. The team posted a 1-1-2 record for the tourney, with both losses coming against host Sheridan.

“Sheridan is a very good team and ended up only allowing one goal to us in the championship game,” coach Orr said. “They are all eighth graders, so their physicality and speed was a factor.”

Heart Mountain opened the tournament with a 2-1 win over the Riverton Rampage. Franks scored the first goal of the game off a cross by Erickson, and the score was 1-0 Heart Mountain at the break.

Riverton tied the game early in the second half, and the teams went back and forth with no score. A penalty in the Riverton box with eight minutes left gave Heart Mountain a penalty kick, which Erickson converted for the gamewinner. Orr praised his midfield — made up of Franks, Erickson, Parker Williams, Jordyn Dearcorn, Will Jackson, Wambeke and Prosser — for their solid play during the contest.

Heart Mountain came back to earth in the tourney’s second game, a 6-0 loss to the Sheridan Storm. Despite the loss, “I thought our defense was pretty good, given what we were going up against,” coach Orr said.

Needing a win or a tie against the Gillette Edge for another crack at Sheridan, Heart Mountain got exactly that, battling to a 2-2 tie. Gillette took an early 1-0 lead, then Heart Mountain answered on a goal by Steven Stambaugh. Gillette scored again to take a 2-1 lead into the half, but Jacob Orr scored the equalizer on a 23-yard shot in the game’s final two minutes. The goal propelled Heart Mountain into the championship game.

“Jacob’s shot was amazing; we were going nuts,” coach Orr said. “It was the difference between going to the championship or not.”

He said Colton Brewer and Logan Jensen “played well on the backline,” while Aubree Fisher “won some key balls along the sideline.”

The excitement of advancing to the title game was tempered somewhat by the game itself, as Heart Mountain lost 8-1 to Sheridan.

Stambaugh accounted for Heart Mountain’s lone goal off an assist by Jacob Orr, and his play at striker was a highlight.

“Steven [Stambaugh] would prefer to play defense but he is such a difference-maker with his speed and power,” coach Orr said. “Every time he plays striker, good stuff happens. Rivers Carrell played hard too. JT Prosser and Landon Hernandez played hard on defense the entire time, all tournament. They deserve recognition for never giving up against Sheridan ...”


Cody Shootout

Heart Mountain got off to a slow start at the Cody Shootout May 11-12 but recovered to play well, finishing with a 1-2 record for the tournament.

“It was an up and down weekend,” coach Orr said.

Heart Mountain opened the tourney with a 4-0 loss to Lander, with fatigue a possible factor.

“It was our third consecutive week of an 8 a.m. game on Saturday,” he said. “We were just flat.”

Heart Mountain rebounded in the second round, beating the Riverton Rampage 2-1.

“They answered the call after a tough first game and out-played a fresh team playing their first game on the day,” coach Orr said.

The game was knotted at 0-0 at the half, but Riverton got on the board early in the second to take a 1-0 lead. Franks tied the game on a free kick by Jacob Orr; Stambaugh scored the gamewinner 15 minutes later on a Franks free kick over Riverton’s back line.

The win set up another matchup with the Sheridan Storm. The Storm continued to show why they were one of the top teams in the state, jumping out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first 15 minutes.

“Our kids were flat and not winning the ball in the air,” coach Orr explained.

In an effort to break Heart Mountain out of its funk, he decided to try something a little different.

“I told them, ‘Hey, next kid to head the ball gets $5,’” he said. “Well, the kids responded and it became a game within the game. The kids, parents and referees were pointing out headers and it sort of sparked us.”

Heart Mountain spoiled the shutout in the second half on a goal by Erickson, cutting the deficit to 3-1. That was as close as Heart Mountain would get, however, as the Storm netted one more goal and held on for a 4-1 win.

“We actually played them well after giving them three goals. It was a 1-1 game the rest of the way,” coach Orr said. Kids who headed the ball during the game were Franks, Erickson, Andrew Moretti, Jacob Orr, Wambeke, Landon Hernandez, Will Jackson, Brewer and Prosser.


State Cup-Casper

Heart Mountain ended its season at the State Cup in Casper May 25-26, posting a 1-2 record. The team got off to a rough start, losing back-to-back games to Gillette and Rock Springs by identical 4-0 scores.

But with the end of the season in sight, the U15 team dug deep to finish strong, beating Riverton 2-1.

“It was great to end the season on a high note with a win,” coach Orr said. “All the kids contributed to the win.”

Riverton took an early 1-0 lead, but Jacob Orr answered with a 26-yard shot to bring the game back to even. Erickson scored what ended up being the gamewinner 15 minutes later, chasing down a Jacob Orr free kick and knocking it to the far post for the score.

The game was a defensive battle after that, with neither team able to find the back of the net in the second half. Heart Mountain held on for the 2-1 win.

Parker Williams, Jacob Orr, Franks and Hernandez “played strong defense, as did Holden Cooper in goal,” coach Orr said. “The rest of the kids played hard in the mid-field and striker positions.”

After the game, coach Orr praised his team for never giving up.

“We competed hard, but it was difficult to overcome the maturity that other teams had,” he said. “When we were like other teams, we won those games; when teams were older than ours, we lost those games.”

He told the players to keep their heads up and work hard “and we will be better next fall when our season gets going again.”