May 23, 2014 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorBoth Lander Valley High School soccer teams remained in contention for a berth in the Class 3-A state championship match after picking up victories Thursday in the opening round of the state tournament in Jackson.
The Lander boys put in a 3-1 victory over Star Valley in the second match of the day.
In the girls bracket, Lander won a 1-0 affair vs. Jackson.
Both Tiger teams are No. 1 seeds for the double-elimination tournament.
"It was a good solid win for us," Lander boys coach Dan Howlett said. "It was a hard, physical game. We are happy to be done with that one."
The Tigers played Powell Friday afternoon in one of the boys semifinal games. Powell blanked Pinedale 2-0 to set up the match.
The Tigers crushed Powell 6-0 in the regular season in Lander.
The LVHS girls were tied 0-0 at halftime and scored the winner early in the second half.
"For us to win that one was huge," Lander girls coach Dean Schaff said.
The Lander girls played Worland Friday afternoon in a semifinal match. Worland knocked Newcastle 3-1 into consolation play. Worland and Lander didn't play in the regular season.
"Worland has had up and down season," Schaff said. "They have beaten some teams like Cody that maybe nobody expected."
The tournament concludes Saturday afternoon with the two championship matches.
The girls contest is set for 1 p.m. The boys go off at 3 p.m.
"We just need to play as a group," Schaff said. "The energy that we bring to the field will be an important piece because it will be warm."
In the girls game, the lone goal came from Lander forward Rachael Troxel 10 minutes into the second half.
For the boys, eight minutes remained in the first half when Daniel Lobera scored to put the Tigers up 1-0. Casey Winger came up with the assist.
One minute into the second half, Lobera registered his second goal, assisted by Eli Lowham. Star Valley got back in the game a minute latter to make it 2-1.
Lowham gave LVHS the two-goal cushion with about 30 minutes left in the half.
Tiger Forward Kyle Leemon, who entered the tournament leading Class 3-A soccer in goals at 28, was blanketed by the Star Vally defense and didn't score.
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