May 11, 2012 - Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterROCK SPRINGS -- A small crack in Evanston's wall was all Kade Salisbury needed to slip the ball forward to Tristan White, Riverton's goal-scoring freshman, who played the ball into an open net and stamped Riverton's ticket to the Class 4-A state soccer tournament with a 1-0 win over Evanston Thursday in the Class 4-A West regional tournament in Rock Springs.
White's game winner came in the 54th minute after Caleb Ogg sent a free kick toward the goal that deflected off the Red Devil wall and to the feet of Salisbury who was able to play the ball forward.
"It was a lucky push by Kade to someone who knows how to score," Riverton head coach Erly Cornejo said.
The goal was White's seventh of the year.
The fourth-seeded Wolverines (5-8-2, 3-5-2 Class 4-A West), who had dropped their two conference games to Evanston in the regular season, advance to the West regional semifinals against top-seeded Rock Springs Friday at 5 p.m.
In the other opening-round match, Green River survived a shootout against Casper Natrona 4-3 after being tied 1-1 in regulation to advance to Friday's first semifinal match against Kelly Walsh at 3 p.m.
Riverton had a good chance to zip to an early lead in the 12th minute when senior Josh Wright won possession and found Aaron Nirider, but Nirider's shot missed high.
Riverton's senior keeper, Logan Ridgway, was only seriously tested once, in the 34th minute, when Evanston's Devian Kurete placed a shot on frame that Ridgway saved diving to his left.
But Evanston was able to continue to put some pressure on Riverton's defense early.
"This was the first time on the big stage for our wing backs and they were a little nervous," Cornejo said of his young defenders, freshman Ryan Axthelm and sophomore Lars Becker.
"But they definitely settled in as the match progressed," Cornejo said.
Although the Red Devils struggled to generate much serious offense, the Wolverines found ways to pressure Evanston throughout the match, forcing Red Devil keeper Tyler Chandler to punch the ball away from his goal time and time again during play Thursday.
"We struggled with balls in the air," Cornejo said. Riverton had seven corner kicks in the match compared to Evanston's two.
The Wolverines had wanted to play more of an outside-in game, but Evanston "squeezed us to the middle, and we had trouble adjusting early," Cornejo said.
That started to change midway through in the second half when Wolverine Shaydon Coulson was able to continually advance the ball up the sideline in front of his Wolverine bench and put pressure on the Red Devils late in the match.
"He doesn't get enough recognition, but the little things he does are so important to us," Cornejo said of Coulson.
Halftime -- Evanston 0, Riverton 0
Yellow Cards -- Evanston 1, Riverton 1
Corner Kicks -- Evanston 2, Riverton 7
Class 4-A West Regional at Rock Springs
Green River (3W) 1 defeats Casper Natrona (6W) 1 in shootout, 4-3
Riverton (4W) 1 defeats Evanston (5W) 0
Semifinal, Green River vs. Kelly Walsh (2W), 3 p.m.
Semifinal, Riverton vs. Rock Springs (1W), 5 p.m.
Third place, Green River-Kelly Walsh loser vs. Riverton-Rock Springs loser, 10 a.m.
Championship, Green River-Kelly Walsh winner vs. Riverton-Rock Springs winner, noon
East Regional, at Sheridan
No. 3 Cheyenne Central 15, No. 6 Cheyenne South 1
No. 5 Cheyenne East 2, No. 4 Gillette 0
Semifinal, Cheyenne Central vs. No. 2 Laramie, 4 p.m.
Semifinal, Cheyenne East vs. No. 1 Sheridan, 6 p.m.
Third place, Central-Laramie loser vs. East-Sheridan loser, 10 a.m.
Championship, Central-Laramie winner vs. East-Sheridan winner, noon
Regional Qualifier, at Riverton
Cody (3NW) vs. Torrington (2SE), 3 p.m.
Pinedale (3SW) vs. No. Douglas (2NE), 5 p.m.
Rawlins (3SE) vs. Powell (2NW), noon
Newcastle (3NE) vs. No. Star Valley (2SW), 2 p.m.
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