Apr 8, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorLander Valley High School boys soccer coach Dan Howlett has faith his squad is only going to get better in the second half of the 2012 season.
The Tigers are enjoying a break from competition because of the Easter holiday.
"We are playing really well and every game we improve," Howlett said. "We are missing some players. It will be a key for us to get them back. "
LVHS players Josh Thoren and Trapper Lee missed the Buffalo game on Saturday, March 31, for different injuries. Howlett expects the players to be back in the lineup in time for a road contest this Friday vs. Douglas.
"We have changed our style," Howlett said. "We went to a diamond instead of a flat back. We have a good youth program right now, and it's just a more modern style of game."
LVHS forward Austin Roberts remains out of the llineup with an injured knee suffered during basketball season.
"We need to get healthy," Howlett said. "We have some big, strong kids that are sitting on the sideline. Injuries are probably the biggest thing for us."
The Tigers are ranked No. 4 in the Class 3-A division.
"We had some growing pains early," Howlett said. "We gave up some real easy goals, and the last three games we have been playing really well."
"We have pretty much a new crew for our fullbacks," Howlett said.
Thoren, Casey Winger, Dustin Clark, Adan Arrendando, Andres Arrendando and Derek Peil play in the fullback positions.
"Derek is pretty much the mainstay of it," Howlett said. "All of the other ones played junior varsity last year and some varsity."
LVHS goalkeeper is Marcus Vigil. Peil and Vigil were both all-state selections in 2011.
"The defense has come a long way," Howlett said. "At the beginning we were making some slow passes. Marcus had a lot of shots that were coming five or six shots away from him. That makes it really difficult to stop. "
Buffalo scored a pair of goals in the second half to pull out a 2-1 victory over the Tigers.
"We are getting more use to of the new system," Howlett said.
The Tigers play at Douglas on Friday night in a non-conference game.
This is the first year, the Bearcats are playing soccer on the varsity level.
LVHS squares off against the Wolverines on Tuesday, April 17, in a Fremont County showdown in Lander.
"We have an odd schedule," Howlett said.
"We had a lot of home games early. We are now on the road a lot."
The Tigers play three straight road matches vs. Torrington (April 20), Newcastle (April 21) and Rawlins (April 23).
"We are really heavy the next two weeks," Howlett said.
The Tigers return home for matches against Powell (April 27) and Cody (April 28).
Buffalo and Jackson are the top two squads in the Class 3-A division.
Jackson beat Class 4-A schools Cheyenne East and Kelly Walsh.
Buffalo is No. 1 in the rankings, and Jackson sits second.
"The 3-A is pretty interesting," Howlett said.
Worland knocked off Riverton and Green River.
Worland is ranked No. 3.
"There are a lot of 3-A teams that are being very competitive with the 4-A teams," Howlett said.
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