May 17, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorJACKSON -- Kyle Leemon and Trapper Lee provided the scoring punch for the Lander Valley High School Tigers in a 3-0 win on Thursday afternoon vs. the Powell Panthers in the opening round of the Class3-A state tournament in Jackson.
Leemon scored two goals and Lee one, moving LVHS a win away from playing in the championship match. The Tigers played Star Valley Friday afternoon in the semifinal.
The Powell was played in sunshine conditions. The late afternoon matches dealt with rain.
"In a perfect game we would have beat them 6-0. After thinking back at it when it was 3-0 that made our backups play harder," LVHS coach Dan Howlett said. "They knew if they gave up a goal then I would have to start putting people back in.
"Most all of our serious subs played 20 to 30 minutes, which means a lot of our starters rested for 20 or 30 minutes."
LVHS climbed into the state field as one of the four favorites to reach the semifinal round after going 10-3-1 on the year.
"I thought that our kids handled the pressure of the first game really well," Howlett said.
LVHS rolled over Powell 7-0 in a regular season match in Park County.
"Powell played intense," Howlett said.
Lander 3, Powell 0
Leemon scored the first goal of the match at the 24th minute. Teammate Casey Winger earned the assist.
Leemon is leading the Class 3-A division with 20 goals in his junior year.
"Kyle brings a lot of speed and energy," Howlett said. "He is single-minded on what is going on at that moment."
Howlett felt LVHS should have had a penalty kick in the first five minutes of the match.
"We thought that we deserved a penalty kick early when Kyle was taken down in the box," Howlett said. "That would have turned things around and made a difference."
Four minutes later after the first goal, Lee finished a scoring opportunity after a pass from Leemon.
"Trapper has been playing well, he just hasn't been finishing," Howlett said. "With his first goal at state that gives us two forwards that our finishing."
Early on in the second half, Leemon put his second ball in, and Howlett got a chance to play his younger players.
LVHS goalkeeper Jess Oldham finished with four saves. He had one outstanding save early in the first half when he kept Powell away from the scoreboard after blocking a shot that was in close range.
"The wind was behind Powell in the first half," Howlett said. "We hoped to get the wind behind us and put some pressure on."
Star Valley slipped by Worland 3-2 in overtime on Thursday morning to set up the battle with the Tigers.
"I was a little surprised with the score between Worland and Star Valley," Howlett said. "Star Valley was more physical last year."
Worland was a No. 1 seed for the tournament from the Northwest conference. Star Valley is a No. 2 seed from the Southwest.
"On paper, we should play well and do well," Howlett said. "These tournaments are completely different.
Howlett expected Friday's match to be played in the rain and the wind.
"The weather will play a big role in the game," Howlett said. "We have very skilled defenders. We swing the ball a lot."
Buffalo blanked Torrington 6-0 on Thursday, while Jackson shut out Cody 4-0. Buffalo and Jackson are in the other semifinal match.
The 3-A state title match is at 3 p.m. Saturday.
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