May 9, 2012 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterThe Riverton Lady Wolverines will work to continue the season of retiring coaches Rick and Peggy Bergstedt when they open in a must-win match against Rock Springs at the girls Class 4-A West regional soccer tournament at the Tom Staffileno Activities complex at Casper Kelly Walsh High School.
Game time Thursday is set for 6 p.m. There is no admission charge for tournament matches.
For both teams, a loss means the season will end. A win will translate to a state tournament berth.
The Wolverines (7-5-2, 5-3-2 Class 4-A West) have had success against the Lady Tigers this year. On the road in Rock Springs, Riverton played to a 2-2 tie and beat Rock Springs at home 3-0.
"As long as we don't take it too lightly. We are trying to be comfortable with how we know we have played against them and what we are capable of doing. We went to their place and had a little adversity and tied the match that we should have probably won," Bergstedt, in his 26th season, said adding that, for his team, Rock Springs plays "fairly physical."
First-year Rock Springs coach Tamika Davis disputes that her team tries to play a more physical style than usual.
"I have heard people say that. We just practice winning the ball in the air. If that is physical, that is what soccer is," Davis said.
In the other West 4-A regional first round match, third-seed Kelly Walsh will play sixth-seed Evanston.
Casper Natrona and Green River are the top seeds from the West and have earned automatic qualifications for the state tournament.
In the Class 4-A East girls tournament in Laramie that also begins Thursday, Sheridan and Laramie have the top seeds and automatic state berths. Cheyenne East (4th seed, Class 4-A East) takes on Gillette (5E) and Cheyenne Central (3E) battles Cheyenne South (6E).
The Wolverines will work to stay disciplined when they hit the pitch Thursday.
"We need to begin the tournament with some intensity and, hopefully, we can carry that through the weekend. We can't get frustrated with that physical play and react in a negative manner. That is probably the most important thing to us. We have enough options (to attack)," Bergstedt said.
As for the Lady Tigers, it's not lost on them that they will need to stop Riverton's powerful one-two offensive threats, Marcia Ashdown and Alexis Oaks. Ashdown, the RHS striker who is headed to play soccer at the University of Wyoming next year, leads all Wyoming Class 4-A scorers with 25 goals and Oaks has scored six goals this season.
"We know who their good players are. I am not going to give away our secrets," Davis said.
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