SHERIDAN — Sheridan High School girls soccer announcer Don Julian half jokingly made the comment, “Laramie brought the wind with them,” prior to the start of a game Saturday afternoon. A funny comment to some in the stands actually had quite a bit of merit in relation to how the game played out.
“When we had the wind, everything carried and it made it so much easier,” Sheridan’s Aria Heyneman said.
With the wind, the Lady Broncs pushed the ball more effectively and created scoring opportunities, while without it, Sheridan’s offense went stagnant for the most part.
The lone goal Saturday floated into the wind, unpredictably dying just over the outstretched arms of Lady Bronc goaltender Libby Gardner, as Laramie edged Sheridan 1-0.
The free kick that found the back of the net, off the foot of Sam Turpen, represented just one of the few chances the Lady Plainsmen had Saturday. The Lady Broncs dictated the pace of the game, controlling the ball offensively and playing strong defense in front of Gardner.
“That’s one of the best teams in the state that we just played, and it has been awhile since we’ve played them that close,” Sheridan head coach Kevin Rizer said. “That game could have easily been 1-0 the other way. … We had a few more chances, and carried some of the run of play. I feel really good about our effort.”
The first half saw Sheridan take six corner kicks, half of which resulted in a shot on goal. The Lady Broncs also utilized both sidelines and midfield to give themselves numerous offensive chances.
Laramie — which was also noticeably less effective against the wind — earned the game-deciding free kick in the 29th minute.
Turpen hoisted the 35-yard direct kick into the wind, and the ball danced in midair before sailing just past Green’s extended arm.
Sheridan didn’t earn one corner kick in the second 40 minutes, as the wind, fatigue and Laramie’s offense all played a role in reducing the Lady Broncs’ offensive looks. Sheridan, much like it did in the opening half, remained stout defensively to keep it a one-score game until the final buzzer.
While it’s only three games into the season (1-2), Rizer can already see significant improvement out of his club. The Lady Broncs opened the season with a 5-1 loss at Kelly Walsh, and in just five days since then, logged a win over Cheyenne South and lost a 1-0 decision to a tough Laramie squad.
“At this point in the season, our goal is to get better everyday,” Rizer said. “I know that sounds like a dumb-coach slogan, but that’s our goal. Everyday we step out on the field, we want to get better.
“We are a young team, so with our youth, for us to step out and play this well, I think it really bodes well.”
Rizer did say that his team has many areas in which it needs to improve, mainly passing and first touches. Sheridan will look to shore up those areas before traveling down to the capital city to battle two of the better teams in the state.
The Lady Broncs play at Cheyenne East Friday night before a Saturday matinee affair with defending state champion Cheyenne Central.
“If we fight like we did today, we have a good chance against the best teams in the state,” Heyneman said.
Laramie….1 0 — 1
Sheridan…0 0 — 0
First half_1, Laramie, Sam Turpen
Second half_No scoring