May 7, 2014 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorFive goals in the second half lifted the Lander Tigers to a convincing 5-0 win on Tuesday night against Jackson on the girls soccer field.
The victory solidified the Tigers as a title contender for Class 3-A state soccer tournament in a couple of weeks in Jackson.
The match was played in windy conditions at the Lander soccer field.
"It's always nice to beat Jackson," Lander defender Mak Meeks said. "We really came together as a team in the second half. We just connected passes in the second half and played awesome."
Lander was fresh off a 2-1 win against Cody on Saturday afternoon.
Cody and the Tigers both are the top-ranked teams in Class 3-A.
"It was a great win for us," Lander coach Dean Schaff said. "We have been a second-half team for the last few games. It kind of drives me crazy, but at the same time it's nice to win."
The Tigers end the regular season Saturday at Newcastle.
"It will be a long road trip on Saturday," Schaff said. "If we get a victory, then we will be undefeated in Class 3-A going into state."
Lander 5, Jackson 0
After 40 minutes of scoreless action in the first half, Lander shifted into another gear in the second half.
"We came out really flat," Schaff said. "Jackson had a lot of energy. We have had enough control that we have been able to play full games. That courage and pride comes through in the second half. "
Two minutes into the half, Lander's Ella Welsh connected on the first goal of the match.
Midway through the second half, Meeks knocked in the second goal on a perfect free kick.
"I have always taken some free kicks here and there," Meeks said. "I just had to put some aim on it."
The free kick came from 30 yards out.
"Mak had a little bit of wind behind her," Schaff said. "I told her just to let her have it. She put it in the right spot."
Two goals by Rachael Troxel and another from Welsh broke the game wide open for the Tigers.
Troxel can play in the middle, left or on the outside forward position for the high-powered Lander attack.
"I can pretty much play Rachael all over the field," Schaff said. "It's a nice luxury to have with a sophomore."
Lander's conditioning came into play in the final 40 minutes of the match.
"We were able to finish the game because we had more energy in the second half," Schaff said.
Big-time adjustments were made during the halftime break from the Lander coaching staff.
"We were able to come out in the second half and do the right things," Schaff said. "Our girls just wanted it a little more. They were hungry for it after the first goal."
Meeks is anchoring one of the strongest defensives teams in Class 3-A this year.
"We are pretty strong right now," Meeks said.
"We have two fast girls on the outside."
Codi Swenson and Meeks control the inside. The outside defenders are Morgan Gramlich and Anna Robinson.
"We dropped some people back in there when the ball was in the middle just for a little while until we started to control the middle," Schaff said.
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