SHERIDAN — The Sheridan High School girls soccer team’s regular season did not end as it hoped. But as 11 seniors walked across Homer Scott Field Friday night for the final time in their high school career, it gave head coach Kevin Rizer a chance to reflect.
The first-year head coach will remember this group not for the 3-0 loss Friday against Thunder Basin but for the profound effect the Lady Bronc veterans had on him.
“I’ve never coached girls before, and swore I would never do it, but these girls are special,” Rizer said. “I got a little choked up when I was writing about them because they’re special. They’re a family. They play for each other.
“You know what, I don’t care what anyone says, I think coaching girls is a heck of a lot of easier than coaching guys sometimes. They’re real coachable. They want to learn, and the want to get better.
Quite frankly, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to coaching boys soccer. I’m happy to be coaching girls soccer.”
Rizer’s first season isn’t done quite yet. The Lady Broncs swooped up the final spot in the region tournament and will play Campbell County in the opening round.
The Camels had their way with Sheridan this past Tuesday, as they blanked the Lady Broncs 3-0. Rizer believes that result represents an outlier and doesn’t reflect how his team has performed of late.
And it’s with that mindset that gives Rizer and the rest of the Lady Broncs a good felling ahead of the region tournament.
“It’s very advantageous that we are playing (Campbell County) because we felt like we didn’t play our best game (last Tuesday),” Rizer said. “We didn’t feel like we played well at all or hard. And we all know that, top to bottom. We are thankful for the opportunity to get another shot at those guys, and we wanted no one else. We wanted (Campbell County) because we want to play the game we know we can play against them, and then let the chips fall where they may.”
The winner of the game between Sheridan and Campbell County will book its ticket to the state tournament in Jackson prior to playing one more region game for seeding purposes while the loser’s season will come an end.
Now, with all that said, Sheridan isn’t exactly sprinting into the region tournament. The Lady Broncs haven’t scored a goal since the second half of a game against Cheyenne Central April 27. That equates to a pair of overtime periods and four halves of soccer without Sheridan finding the back of the net.
Rizer isn’t too concerned about the recent lack of offensive production because, aside from the game against Campbell County, Sheridan played the top two teams in the conference to close the regular season.
Neither Thunder Basin or Sheridan created that many scoring chances Friday. However, the Lady Bolts took advantage of a couple missed clearances in the second half to increase their advantage.
Kennedy Ayers and DeLaney Hallcroft scored goals in the 46th and 47th minute, respectively, that gave the game its final tally. Hallcroft tallied the first goal during the 31st minute as she chipped a long shot just over the outstretched arm of Sheridan goaltender Zoie Jones.
Rizer called the game’s opening goal lucky and he hopes a little luck can aid his Lady Broncs come region tournament time.
Thunder Basin….1 2 — 3
Sheridan…………0 0 — 0
First half_1, Thunder Basin, DeLaney Hallcroft.
Second half_2, Thunder Basin, Kennedy Ayers. 3, Thunder Basin, Hallcroft.