Lady Panthers fall to Riverton 2-1

Losing streak hits three games

Posted 4/18/19

Looking to get back on track after back-to-back losses, the Powell High School girls’ soccer team was hoping to climb back into the win column at home Monday against Riverton.

But after a …

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Lady Panthers fall to Riverton 2-1

Losing streak hits three games

Posted

Looking to get back on track after back-to-back losses, the Powell High School girls’ soccer team was hoping to climb back into the win column at home Monday against Riverton.

But after a solid first half of scoring opportunities culminated in a 1-0 halftime lead, the Lady Panthers (2-5-1, 1-2 in 3A West) were unable to duplicate that success in the second half. The Lady Wolverines (5-4, 3-2) fought off an aggressive Powell attack to score two unanswered goals and escape with a 2-1 win.

“I don’t know how to explain it; I don’t know what happened,” said PHS head coach Jack Haire. “I’m at a loss for words. That first half was ours [and] it just somehow got away from us. Riverton wanted to win the game more, it seemed.”

The Lady Panthers started the game in a new formation, one designed to maximize scoring opportunities. The move seemed to pay off early, as Powell peppered the Lady Wolverines’ keeper with shot after shot. A few players were unsure of what to make of the new formation at first, according to Haire, but once they bought in, things started to happen.

“The goal was just to shoot and shoot and shoot, and we did exactly that,” Haire said. “I’m not even sure how many shots we had in that first half, but it was double digits in the first 20 minutes. Double digit shots on a team like Riverton is impressive. They’re a strong team”

The Lady Panthers finally got on the board with six minutes left in the first half, when Jordan Woodford found the back of the net for her first tally of the season. The freshman from Lovell has become one of the more pleasant surprises of the season for her coach.

“She’s just been an outstanding player since she’s joined this program. I don’t think I’ve pulled her out of a game yet this season,” Haire said of Woodford. “I’m not sure how her goal went in; she caught the keeper going the other way, and it went in. She’s definitely a freshman to look forward to.”

Powell continued to attack following Woodford’s goal but was unable to convert, taking a tenuous 1-0 lead into the half.

“Our halftime was good, we all had smiles on our faces, which in my opinion is the most important part of the game, to have fun,” Haire said. “Everything was upbeat; we still talked about strategy and what to do. We just weren’t able to execute it.”

The second half was not without its scoring chances, though the determined Riverton squad made a few adjustments. The Lady Wolverines tied the game at the 33:58 mark of the second half, then scored the game-winner with six minutes left in the game. The home team had a few good looks late, but goals again proved to be elusive as time wound down.

“We didn’t really change anything in the second half, because we all as a team felt comfortable with where we were at and how it was going,” Haire said. “We were swapping through lineups, but the formation stayed the same. Maybe that was a mistake; maybe we should have gone back to a formation that was defensive-strong.”

That said, Haire was pleased with what he called “another solid defensive performance,” with quality efforts from senior Jalie Timmons and junior Michele Wagner.

“Jalie Timmons did fantastic against Riverton on defense; she shut down a lot of scoring opportunities,” he said. “Michele Wagner played a good game. Her hustle and her ball skills are impressive.”

“Coach [Stan] Hedges has been working really hard this year with the defense and just doing awesome,” Haire added.

The Lady Panthers had just a couple of days to regroup before heading to Worland today (Thursday) for another 3A West matchup. The Warriors are sitting second in the conference behind Cody with a 5-3 record (2-2 in conference). With the season hitting its midpoint, Haire said wins are becoming crucial. Asked what his team needs to do to compete, his response was succinct.

“We need to play a whole game,” he said. “I don’t know how much more simple to be. If we can play a whole game like we played the first half against Riverton, we beat them. If we can play a whole game like we played Douglas, we beat them. It’s now a far more important game than any other game we’ve played this season. We have our work cut out for us.”

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