Mar 29, 2013 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterRiverton stands 1-1-2 on the soccer season
Playing without much enthusiasm Thursday afternoon against a quality team, the Riverton High School boys soccer team lost its first match of the season 1-0 to second-ranked Gillette in a Class 4-A non-conference game at Wolverine Field.
Riverton (1-1-2) will now take a short spring holiday, resume practice Monday, and try to regroup for next Thursday's Class 4-A West conference clash at Casper Natrona.
"We came out dead and played poorly in the first half," RHS head coach Erly Cornejo said.
The Camels, much improved from last year's squad that failed to qualify for the state tournament, scored their winning goal in the 21st minute when sophomore Oscar Molina-Garcia maintained possession deep in Riverton's right corner and crossed to sophomore Andy Guernsey, who headed the ball into the net.
"In the second half we made some adjustments defending in the midfield and did a better job. We created some half chances but didn't have any real good chances," Cornejo said.
Unable to control the ball in the midfield, Riverton resorted often to a through-ball style of play that created some scoring chances at the expense of long runs by the Wolverine strikers.
Riverton's best opportunity came after a Gillette foul. Xavier Webb's free kick gave Marcus Morrison and Juan Buitargo both chances in front of the frame, but neither could finish in traffic.
"This is the best team we have faced so far. They are really good," Cornejo said.
The Wolverines, who struggled with Gillette's physical, assertive play and could not win many 50-50 balls, will work to become more aggressive themselves when practice resumes next week.
"We've already talked about whether we are going to come out flat every once in awhile or is that going to be our identity. So far, unfortunately, it's been our identity," Cornejo said.
Late in the match, Riverton dodged two bullets. The first was when Gillette junior Lane Knie-vel's rocket clanked the post in the 77th minute. The Wolverines also found a bit of luck when senior keeper Michael Jones made a nice diving save on a Gillette penalty kick in the 79th minute after a Wolverine was whistled for a hand ball inside the goalie box.
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