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Tigers finish third at 3-A state soccer

May 20, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

By Bruce Tippets

Sports Editor

BIG HORN -- Two early goals by Trapper Lee put the momentum on the side of Lander Valley High School in a 4-1 win vs. Buffalo in the third-place match of the Class 3-A state soccer tournament at the Big Horn Equestrian Center.

The goals by Lee helped the Tigers get on track after a 3-1 loss Friday night to Worland in one of the state semifinals. Jackson won its first state title with a 2-0 victory vs. Worland in the championship match.

"It's all set up by perfect balls," Lee said. "Kyle Leemon did a great job of keeping the pressure up on them. I give all the credit to my teammates. I can't score if they don't give me a good ball."

It took 100 minutes of soccer and a shootout before LVHS claimed a 3-2 win against Star Valley Thursday afternoon in the opening round. .

The game was a seesaw battle from start to finish. Star Valley built a 2-1 lead only to see LVHS force the shootout. The Tigers won the shootout 4-2.

"It was a really up and down game," said LVHS starter Henry Austin, who had the first goal of the match. "Once it got into the penalty kicks, I knew that we were going to win. We had been practicing them all week for that kind of situation."

Lander 4, Buffalo 1

(Saturday)

Lee did his damage in the first 15 minutes.

"It's huge to get that big start, especially on a team like Buffalo who can counter so fast. They can get goals right back at you."

Kyle Leemon registered the third Lander goal six minutes into the second half. Buffalo scored its goal on a free kick right into the corner of the net.

"The fact that we hit that third one on them was great," Lee said.

Buffalo received a red card with 11 minutes left on the clock and played a man down the rest of the way.

"It got pretty interesting there for a little while," said Lee about how physical the game was.

Austin had the final goal of the match.

Worland 3, Lander 1

(Friday)

In the rain and cold on a late Friday afternoon, Worland advanced to the state title game for the first time in school history.

"The field was a little sloppy," Lee said.

Worland's offense was on from the start.

"Worland jumped on us fast," Lee said. "We had a couple of breakdowns. It was just one of those games."

In the sixth minute of the match, Kris Mull put the Warriors ahead 1-0. Bryce Overcast had the second score past LVHS goalkeeper Marcus Vigil.

Overcast recorded his second goal nine minutes left in regulation. LVHS avoided the shutout on a Noah Lowham goal.

Lander 3, Star Valley 2

(Thursday)

Lee, Derek Peil, Austin Roberts and Leemon all put in penalty shots in the shootout.

"They just put them away,' Austin said. "It was great to see them make it. They were all solid. '

Star Valley kicked one over the goal, and Marcus Vigil came up with a big save.

"You have to give credit to Marcus for the win in the shootout," Austin said.

Austin opened the scoring in the first half for the Tigers. Austin had been out since April 14 when he suffered an ankle injury vs. Riverton.

Austin was an Class 3-A all-state performer in his junior season.

Star Valley scored one more time later in the first to deadlock the score at 1-1. In the second half, the Braves pulled ahead with a goal for a 2-1 lead.

"I wasn't nervous that Star Valley got ahead," Austin said. "We had been pressuring the whole time. I felt like Star Valley should have been nervous the entire game."

Leemon tied the score at 2-2 in the second half.

In the final stages of the game, Austin felt the Tigers had many good opportunities that weren't cashed in during the regulation period.

"We had some crosses that should have been in," Austin said. "We had a couple of scrambles that we probably should have gotten in."

The Tigers kept the pressure on Star Valley's defense in the two 10-minute overtime periods.

"I don't know if Star Valley had any shots in overtime," Austin said.

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