May 20, 2014 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorA 13-2 record by the Lander Tigers in the regular season has put them in an opening round showdown Thursday with Star Valley at the Class 3-A boys soccer state tournament in Jackson.
Lander is the No. 1 seed from the Southeast after sweeping Torrington and Rawlins.
Star Valley is the No. 2 seed from the Southwest conference.
Start time for the state match is 11 a.m.
The Tigers edged Star Valley 2-1 in Lander on April, 19.
"We had a great season and a great senior year," Lander senior fullback Adam Arrendondo said. "It was really fun to be 13-2."
This is the final state tournament for Lander coach Dan Howlett, who is retiring after the tournament.
Howlett has been the head for the Tigers since 1988.
"It's nice especially under coach Howlett," Arrendondo said. "He is a great coach. It has been a lot of fun."
Arrendondo has been a three-year starter for Howlett.
The Tiger offense has clicked all season, putting up big numbers.
Forwards are Kyle Leemon and Daniel Lobera. Leemon is leading Class 3-A in goals with 28.
Midfielders Eli Lowham and Daniel Bolding have set up scoring plays all season.
Lowham is a four-year starter for the Tigers.
"I love soccer because it's a beautiful game," Lowham said. "It involves technique and ability. We get to work hard with great teammates."
Lowham thinks about soccer year round.
"We do indoor and outdoor training," Lowham said. "When we are not doing the spring high school season, we are playing the fall U18 season around the state. We are always playing hard and challenging each other.
"It gets a little competitive, but hen we are all done we are still friends."
Bolding and Lowham make up one of the best 3-A midfield tandems.
"We have been playing for years," Bolding said. "We get work done."
Bolding played defense his freshman season before moving to midfield.
The Lander junior has assisted on 15 goals.
"I played earlier with Kyle," Bolding said. "We just kind of got in our zone before high school. Kyle just finishes them. He puts them in, which makes me look good."
The winner of Lander-Star Valley plays the winner of Powell (No. 1 seed Northwest)/Pinedale (No. 3 seed/Southwest) at 4 p.m. Friday in one of the semifinals.
At 4 p.m. Thursday, Buffalo (No. 1 seed/North-east) faces Torrington (No. 2 seed/Southeast) in the third opening round game.
Jackson (No. 1 seed/Southwest) faces Cody (No. 2 seed/Northwest) at 4 p.m. to end the first round.
Undefeated Jackson is the favorite going into the state tournament after winning the title last year.
Jackson defeated Lander 4-2 and 2-0 in the two meetings during the regular season.
Class 3-A state tournament opening
round games in Jackson
11 a.m. -- Powell (No. 1 seed/Northwest) vs. Pinedale (No. 3 seed/Southwest).
11 a.m. -- Lander (No. 1 seed/Southwest) vs. Star Valley (No. 2 seed/Star Valley).
4 p.m. -- Buffalo (No. 1 seed/Northwest) vs. Torrington (No. 2 seed/Southeast).
4 p.m. -- Jackson (No. 1 seed/Southwest) vs. Cody (No. 2 seed/Northwest).
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