The Sheridan High School girls soccer team resembles a chameleon — it’s always changing. What started out as a rough season where goals were few and far between has transformed into one filled with victories and offensive fluidity.
Head coach Kevin Rizer has donned a coaching hat for both the boys and girls soccer teams at Sheridan. He has led clubs to state championships and taken his lumps in down seasons. But ever year, Rizer has constantly tweaked the team, allowing it to perform at its best.
“It’s a process,” Rizer said. “Sometimes at the beginning of the year you’re like, ‘Hey, I’ve got it,’ And then you realize, ‘Shoot, we don’t have it. She could play there, but she’s better here or we’ve got someone else who could play there because we have this missing piece.’ It’s constantly a process.”
Even from the player’s standpoint, it’s a process. For instance, Talia Steel began her career as a striker. After injuring her knee, she came back to the team as a midfielder. She has also played defensive midfielder and as a wing during her career as a Lady Bronc.
Sheridan’s senior has found enjoyment in each spot she has played in the field.
“I like the midfield, anywhere,” Steel said. “I like the wing a lot. It’s something new for me that I had never really done, but I like it. I also like defensive middle a lot because you kind of get a sense of everything.”
Steel can affect the game at both ends of the field from her current position. She can help thwart an offensive push from the opponent, while also impact the game offensively like she did last Thursday with a goal against Natrona County.
Sheridan starts out most games in a 4-2-3-1 formation, but that can shift into many different schemes during the 80-minute affair.
“The reality is we are a team with a lot of midfielders and a lot of defenders and not a lot of strikers,” Rizer said. “What we are trying to do is play a 4-2-3-1, and that sometimes morphs into a 4-3-3, and that sometimes morphs into a 4-5-1, and that sometimes morphs into a 4-4-2. It gives a lot of ability to adjust based on what we are seeing.”
Early this season, the Lady Broncs played a 4-5-1 for a majority of the time. This allowed them to pack it in and play a more defensive-focused game.
As the season has progressed, and things have opened up offensively, Sheridan has embodied its more chameleon-like approach. After the Lady Broncs managed just two goals through their first seven games this season, they’ve netted seven in the last three contests.
“We started (the season) by being compact and started by being secure defensively,” Rizer said. “Then, as we get going, we moved into space.”
Sheridan will look to keep things rolling as its next three games take place in Sheridan County. The Lady Broncs host defending state champion, and current conference leader, Cheyenne Central Friday at 6 p.m. before playing host to Cheyenne East, in Big Horn, Saturday and celebrating senior day Tuesday against Campbell County.
Sheridan sits fifth in the conference at 3-5 (nine points). The Lady Broncs are two points clear of Campbell County and trail fourth-place Laramie by three points.