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Lander girls edged out of state soccer crown by Buffalo

May 26, 2014 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

The Tigers didn't allow a goal in regulation play over three state tournament games.

JACKSON -- High drama was on display in the Class 3-A girls state championship soccer game when Buffalo won 2-1 in a shootout for an official 1-0 victory over the Lander Valley High School Tigers.

The heart-stopping tournament for the Tigers began with a 1-0 shootout win Friday night over Worland in the semifinals.

"Lander has a very quality program," Buffalo coach Jenny Skaggs said. "We played them last year, and it was kind of the same way. We knew that it would be a really good matchup. "

Showcase defense

Lander's defense didn't allow a goal in regulation all three state matches. Lander yielded just two goals against 3-A opponents on the season. Lander ended the year with a 16-2 mark.

Lander started the tournament with a 1-0 victory over Jackson in the opening round. Lander had swept Jackson 5-0 and 2-0 in the regular season.

"Jackson has improved a lot," Lander coach Dean Schaff said. "They are probably the best team that didn't make the final four."

Buffalo 1, Lander 0

The first half belonged to the Tigers, but it was Buffalo which dodged the bullets, keeping it a 0-0 game at intermission.

Lander's forward combination of Rachael Troxel, Audrya Tarango, Lyndsey Crane and Ella Welsh all had opportunities to score in different ways.

Troxel kicked a rocket from about 30 yards, forcing the Buffalo to collect the ball. Tarango sped to the outside pushing the ball into Buffalo territory.

Crane was the driving force in the middle. Welsh did her thing on both offensive sides of the field.

At the start of the second half, Buffalo decided to put on more pressure, managing a couple of free kicks where Lander's defense didn't bend.

Both teams slowed down the tempo a little bit in the second half after playing two matches to begin the tournament.

In the two extra periods, missed opportunities were the name of the game. Each team had a couple of solid chances to break the deadlock.

"This is just a very connected team," Kaggs said "We do things together. We were just ready. They just believed in themselves. When that happens you can do anything."

The scoreless tie extended the match into the shootout.

In the shootout, Lander's Rachael Troxel drilled one right into the net for the lone LVHS score. Buffalo connected on two kicks for the win.

Buffalo's sophomore goalie is Kylie Myers.

"Our goalie was amazing in the title game," Skaggs said. "I'm so proud of here We have her for several more years."

Lander 1, Worland 0

(Friday)

Worland came ready to challenge Lander for 80 minutes for a spot in the final.

The two teams couldn't find the net in the first 80 minutes of soccer. Lander put the pressure on Worland in the final 20 minutes but had no luck.

Things became tense for Lander when Worland was awarded a penalty kick, but Worland standout Hailey Schneider missed the net, and the game went into two 10-minute overtime periods.

In the extra periods, Lander continued to step up the attack, but Worland's defense survived. Alicia Espinosa, Taylor Meeks and Rachael Troxel all scored on penalty kicks in the shootout.

Worland managed just one, and Lander had the victory.

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