SHERIDAN — Braylee Standish knew where to place the ball before she stepped up to take her penalty kick. Standish initially aimed right but turned left at the last second, burying the ball past the opposing goalie into the back of the net.
The Sheridan High School senior struggled with PKs last year, so she often practiced those specific shots leading up to the season and honed her technique. Standish previously thought too much during penalty kicks but now has her routine set in place.
“[Penalty kicks] used to be not a strong suit at all,” Standish said. “Just a lot of in the mind stuff … I don’t think anything goes through my head when I do them now. It’s just set the ball down (and) you kick the ball in.”
Her goal gave the Lady Broncs soccer team a 2-0 lead over Cheyenne South midway through the second half and provided the team some breathing room in Sheridan’s 3-0 victory Friday evening at Homer Scott Field.
In their home opener, the Lady Broncs controlled possession and utilized excellent defense to improve their record to 1-1 overall.
Sheridan head coach Kevin Rizer said the team’s main goal is to improve every day and he feels the Lady Broncs did just that on Friday.
“When you’re young especially, you have an opportunity to take big steps, and that’s what they did,” Rizer said. “… As this team feels some success, it’s going to continue to bring more.”
The Lady Broncs lost 11 seniors from last year’s team, but Rizer said the young players are beginning to find their rhythm, particularly on defense.
“They’re starting to think more dynamically,” Rizer said.
Standish said the team moved well together and set each other up in advantageous positions.
“We had a rope connected to us almost,” Standish said. “It felt good to be supported like that.”
Standish said the team filled with underclassmen has performed better than she anticipated early on, which she attributed in part to open communication on and off the field between players of all ages.
Standish put Sheridan on the board with about three minutes left in the first half. After a goal kick from Libby Gardner bounced over the Cheyenne South defense, Standish outraced an opponent to the ball and scooted it on the ground into the left corner of the net.
Courtney Wallach tacked on some insurance with a little more than a minute remaining in the game, scoring from about 20 years out and finding the top corner of the goal.
In addition to three goals, the Lady Broncs had several close chances, twice hitting a post but coming away with nothing to show for it. The Lady Bison only seriously threatened to score once, but the Sheridan defense cleared the ball to come away unscathed in the shutout win.
The team has a long way to go but appears to be making strides in the early portion of the season.
Sheridan hosts Laramie Saturday at noon.
Cheyenne South.…0 0 — 0
Sheridan………….……1 2 — 3
First half_1, Sheridan, Braylee Standish.
Second half_2, Sheridan, Standish. 3, Sheridan, Courtney Wallach.