SHERIDAN — A high school soccer game ending in regulation spans 80 minutes. The Sheridan High School girls soccer team played a solid 40 minutes Friday night, and as a result set its goals on playing a full 80 minutes Saturday against Cheyenne East.
While the Lady Broncs didn’t accomplish their goal, they grew closer to doing so.
If not for a rough 20-minute stretch, Sheridan would have stayed right with the Lady Thunderbirds at Big Horn School Saturday. Some sloppy play midway through the first half resulted in three quick goals for East, which held on for a 3-0 victory.
“We talked about the need to play 80, well, we got halfway there I feel like,” Sheridan head coach Kevin Rizer said. “About 65 minutes of this game was a draw game with even chances, and then we had about a 15- to 20-minute span at the end of the first half that was rough.”
Rizer said his team’s focus simply wasn’t where it needed to be toward the end of the first half. The Lady Broncs weren’t winning, or at least challenging, for 50-50 balls; they weren’t communicating on the field and their first touch wasn’t great.
Conversely, the second 40 minutes saw Sheridan complete a couple passes, have offense flow and create scoring opportunities.
“I think we played a lot better in the second half,” Sheridan’s Nichole Johnson said. “So with that 40 minutes, if we play a whole 80 minutes, like our coach says, well then in return, I don’t think anybody can stay with us.”
Sydney Miller started the quick scoring barrage for the Lady Thunderbirds. She netted the first of her three goals in the 15th minute and followed that up with another in the 33rd and one more in the 34th minute.
East challenged Sheridan goaltender Libby Gardner for the majority of the game.
The Lady Thunderbirds fired 18 shots, 10 of which were on frame.
To Gardner’s credit, she was up to many of the challenges. The Lady Broncs managed to record six shots and two of them were on target.
Sheridan closes the book on the home portion of its schedule Tuesday night against Campbell County, and the game will have a large impact on seeding for the regional tournament. The Lady Broncs currently sit fifth in the region at 3-7 (nine points), two points clear of the Lady Camels.
If Sheridan can secure a victory over its rivals, it’ll lock up no worse than the fifth seed, likely putting it in a 4-5 game against Laramie — a team it split its two regular-season matchups against — in the opening round of the regional tournament. If Sheridan were to lose, Campbell County would vault ahead, and the Lady Broncs would likely be headed to the 3-6 game against either East or Cheyenne Central — two teams which Sheridan went a combined 0-4 against.
“This (Campbell County) game is huge,” Rizer said. “… Laramie is a great team, but we’ve beaten Laramie, so we’d have some confidence in that game.”
Cheyenne East…3 0 — 3
Sheridan…………0 0 — 0
First half_1, Cheyenne East, Sydney Miller; 2, Cheyenne East, Miller; 3, Cheyenne East, Miller
Second half_No scoring