May 6, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorLander Valley High School opened last week by winning a coin flip for the No. 1 seed from the Class 3-A Southeast soccer conference but on Tuesday dropped a 6-0 decision in Jackson in the final regular season match of the season.
Torrington and the Tigers had identical 3-1 conference records and used a coin flip to break the tie. The win in the flip helped LVHS avoid playing in a play-in game for the state tournament. LVHS boys soccer coach Dan Howlett called heads for the flip, and it gave the Tigers almost two weeks off.
"That was huge for us," Howlett said. "If we would have lost, then we would have been playing Cody in a qualifying game."
Howlett hopes winning the tiebreaker wasn't the reason Jackson won by a six-goal margin.
"We had a long bus ride. We had a lot of kids that were sitting out," Howlett said. "It was one of those that didn't matter one way or another."
Jackson 6, LVHS 0
"Jackson just outplayed us," Howlett said. "They were faster and more rested."
The match finished a stretch of seven games in two weeks. Jackson was on its second game in a week.
"Jackson has a very good team," Howlett said.
Jackson scored three in the first half and three more in the second half. LVHS senior starting goalkeeper Marcus Vigil went down with a shoulder injury during the game. Junior Jess Oldham was Vigil's replacement. Howlett said Oldham played the final 35 minutes in the match. Oldham was scored on twice in the loss.
"Jess made a young mistake, and he probably won't ever make it again," Howlett said. "Jackson just moves the ball really quick. They have great speed. Everybody on their team touches the ball really well."
Jackson and Worland are the favorites heading into the final few weeks of the Class 3-A regular season.
"Our hope is that we heal up," Howlett said. "We have a lot of injuries."
The veteran LVHS coach believes the time off before the state tournament will be a positive thing for the Tigers. The state tournament is May 17-19 in Sheridan.
"I would have thought that we would want to have a game after Jackson, but as beat up as we are it's a good time for us to practice and get these guys going," Howlett said.
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