Mar 14, 2013 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterClear the courts, and get the pitch ready.
Just days after the winter basketball season ended, the Riverton Wolverine boys and girls soccer teams battle Sheridan on Friday to begin their spring season.
The girls, under first-year head coach Tanya Santee, host Sheridan Friday at Wolverine Field. The junior varsity will play first, and the varsity will see their first action of the season at 6 p.m.
Santee replaces Rick Bergstedt, who retired after serving as the head coach of the Lady Wolverines for 26 seasons.
The boys, coached by Erly Cornejo, travel to Sheridan for 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. games as well.
The girls will try to improve on their regional tournament fourth-place finish last year. At the state tournament, the Lady Wolverines dropped their two games to Sheridan, last year's second-place state team, and the Casper Natrona Fillies.
Santee's assistant coaches are Jenny Hamilton and Cara McRae.
With 34 players out for her squad, Santee believes Green River, Kelly Walsh and Natrona will be strong contenders in the Class 4-A West.
"Our goal is to get a first or second seed," Santee said, adding that she believes her team will be defensively intelligent.
"We have some girls with quite a few years experience," Santee said.
Riverton's boys will look to keep their momentum from last year's state tournament, where Riverton dropped a 1-0 match to eventual second-place Sheridan but rebounded with wins over Rock Springs and Cheyenne Central that brought a consolation championship trophy home for the Wolverines.
"Right now we need to get a feel for our kids. I'm kind of anxious to see us play because we have so much competition across the board. I want to see how kids perform and what system we will run," Cornejo said.
The Wolverines have 32 players on their early season roster, the most Cornejo, now in his sixth season, has ever had. Aziz Waheed and Zach Tolman are the Riverton boys assistant coaches.
The Wolverines will be preparing to play their first home match against Worland on Friday, March 22.
Cornejo expects that this years Wolverines will possess more offensive punch that past teams.
Both squads will be looking to their regional tournaments, originally scheduled to be played in Riverton, but now set to begin May 9 in Evanston.
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