SHERIDAN — It was a game of two halves, but overtime was all that mattered Friday for the SHS girls.
Sheridan dropped a 1-0 nail-biter to Cheyenne Central, after the Lady Indians Erin McIntyre headed home a corner kick in the first overtime period at Scott Field.
Sheridan held the ball in Central’s defensive half for most of the first, and then played stiff defense in the second to keep the score 0-0.
But in the overtime period, the Lady Indians pressure would pay off.
Lady Indians forward Madi Barber served in a perfect ball from the corner which McIntyre put low and into the back of the net between SHS keeper Bailey McLean and defender Megan Meyers.
“They played well early in the season,” head coach Tom Racette said of his squad. “Then we had some lapses, but we’re back in the hunt now. They really looked hungry tonight.
“Sometimes you play well enough to win, and it just doesn’t go that way. I’m really proud of the kids’ effort.”
Sheridan entered Friday night’s game after a disappointing result last weekend in Laramie in which they fell 5-0. While disappointed with the end result, Racette was pleased after Friday’s game was a significant improvement from their last try against Cheyenne Central — a 5-2 loss.
At first, the Lady Broncs looked the much stronger team Friday night.
While most of the first half was played in the middle third of the field, eventually Sheridan gained the upper hand, holding possession for about the final 20 minutes.
Twenty-three minutes in, Robbi Ryan drove up the left side past a Central defender, getting deep into the box before sending her cross right at Emily Julian’s feet, but Julian was unable to finish as she fell to the ground.
Ryan would apply pressure up the left flank again minutes later, driving all the way to the goal only to sail her shot mere feet over the crossbar.
Central earned three corner kicks in the first half, but didn’t put any shots on goal that were a problem for SHS goalkeeper Bailey McLean to handle.
“We were playing as well as we’ve played all season,” Racette said of the first half. “We really got to the ball hard and quickly and won a lot of balls.
“We created some great opportunities because of that.”
In the second half, neither team looked too eager to break the scoreless draw. Central held the large majority of possession, but did not have a final ball to threaten the Lady Broncs.
Late in the game, Megan Songer had perhaps the most threatening shot for the Lady Broncs when she took a 40-yard straightaway free kick quickly, slicing it just outside the right post.
Sheridan plays Cheyenne East today at noon.
The game will be played at Big Horn High School due to a JV track tournament at SHS.
Racette urged his team to get two more wins out of their final three conference games, which would likely seal a first-round home game for the regional tournament.
Sheridan lost to East in a cold, windy game in the two teams’ first meeting. Sheridan holds just two conference wins, beating opponents Cheyenne South and Gillette, which will be their two final regular season opponents of 2013.
“If we play like this, we’re going to be in the hunt,” Racette said.