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Riverton U14 soccer team grabs second place

Riverton U14 soccer team grabs second place

Jun 1, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

Riverton played to a second-place finish in the U14 boys soccer division on Monday at the state tournament at the Big Horn Equestrian Center.

Cody blanked the Riverton Rampage 4-0 in the title match to win the three-day tournament.

The three Riverton 14-year-olds on the team are Avery Hatfield, Sam McMenamy and TJ Beazley.

"It was a great accomplishment to finish second," Riverton coach Mike Axthelm said. "We are a very young team. The 14-year-olds had a great season. They stepped up and did some really good things for us."

In the semifinals, the Rampage downed the Casper Blades 2-0 for a spot in the title match.

In pool play, Riverton beat Lander and Worland by identical 2-0 scores, and Cody defeated Riverton 2-0.

The state tournament had eight teams in the gold division.

The Rampage finished the year at 11-4-2. Matches in the U14 bracket were two 35-minute halves.

"After the league play for the seeding for the state tournament, we were in the middle of the pack and not sure if we would get in the gold division," Axthelm said.

Reed Axthelm, Brady Fullerton, Kevin Schmidt, Alex Fabricus, Nate Young, Tyler Larsen, Slade Becker, Evan White, Keegan Rosas, Skyler Heibert, Braden Djezvian, Matthew Reinig, Lucas Johnston, Jason Thoren, Nick Stover and Steven Jones were on the Rampage roster .

"People can expect a lot from this team next season," Axthelm said. "We have a lot of returning kids.

With the great run that we made, they got a lot of experience."

Bracket play

In the semifinal game played Sunday night, Reed Axthelm put the Rampage up 1-0 on a penalty kick. The Casper Blades had a hand ball in the box.

"It was important to get that first goal against a good team," coach Axthelm said.

Becker found the net for the second goal.

"Our defense really took the game over," Axthelm said.

Jones recorded the shutout in the goalie position.

"Steven was solid the entire tournament," Axthelm said. In the title match, Cody put in a score in the first half on a 25-yard shot past Jones.

"We played a very tough, physical game in the first half," Axthelm said. "In the second half, we had to start pushing up people to strengthen our attack to start taking chances." Cody took advantage of the situation and scored three goals in the final half to win the title.

Early games

The Rampage opened the three-day tournament pulling out a tight win vs. the Lander Strikers.

Axthelm said Schmidt, Becker, McMenamy and Young controlled the midfield.

"We were really focused on trying to get a good start on the tournament," Axthelm said.

The two Fremont County squads ended the first half scoreless.

Reed Axthelm scored Riverton's first goal from an assist by McMenamy.

McMenamy chipped in a goal of his own with an assist from Fullerton.

In the second pool-play match, Cody took a two-goal victory.

Cody scored in the first few minutes against Riverton's defense.

"Our fullbacks made some adjustments and did a great job of not giving up a goal for the next 75 minutes," Axthelm said.

The fullbacks were Rosas, Heibert, Stover, Djezvian and White.

"They did a great job of setting the tone that we could play physical with a team that was much larger than us that we weren't backing down," Axthelm said.

Cody added a score on a free kick in the later stages of the match.

In a must-win game on Sunday, Larsen, Beazley and Reinig shut down Worland's offense.

Worland scored its first goal on a 25-yard kick in the second half.

Riverton wasted little time scoring on a breakaway goal from Reed Axthelm. Becker hit the go-ahead goal.

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