May 17, 2013 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterROCKR00;SPRINGS -- Laramie Plainsmen junior forward Blake Wright scored one first-half goal and added insurance in the 59th minute to end Riverton's hopes for a boys Class 4-A soccer championship.
In opening-round state-tournament play in Rock Springs Thursday afternoon, Laramie (11-4-1) shut out Riverton (8-6-2) 2-0 to advance to Friday's semifinal game against Cheyenne Central.
Riverton, the Class 4-A West regular season champion, fell to consolation play but bounced back to beat Casper Kelly Walsh 4-1 Friday morning.
Kelly Walsh, the Class 4-A West regional tournament champion, was the only league team that Riverton had not defeated during the regular season.
Against KW, Tristan White took a cross from Deitrick Becker to get Riverton on the board first in the 21st minute, and Sam McMenamy found the back of the net for Riverton off a corner kick before halftime.
Juan Buitrago added a penalty kick after Logan Hartbank was fouled in the box in the 62nd minute, and Kade Salisbury's header after Xavier Webb won a corner kick sealed it for the Wolverines in the 80th minute.
Riverton led 2-0 at halftime.
"We came out with energy and they were flat. We just put them on their heals the whole game. We were way creative today," RHS head coach Erly Cornejo said.
Riverton will now advance to Saturday's consolation championship game against Rock Springs, the same team that upset Riverton 1-0 in last weekend's regional tournament. The game is scheduled for 11 a.m. at Rock Springs High School.
Rock Springs advanced to the consolation championship game with a 3-2 win over Casper Natrona prior to Riverton's match Friday.
Last year, Riverton beat Chey-enne Central 4-3 to claim the consolation title.
In other first-round games, Gillette smashed Casper Natrona 5-0, Sheridan beat Rock Springs 2-0 and Cheyenne Central beat Casper Kelly Walsh 2-1. In first-round tournament games, the East dominated the West in Class 4-A.
Against Laramie, it was Riverton's inability to penetrate a strong Laramie defense that was the difference in the game that was played in varying weather conditions from hail and wind to nice and sunny at Rock Springs Junior High School.
"We had a set piece that we executed well that we did not put in the back of the net. I thought that was big and could have tied it 1-1 before halftime.
"We only allowed them to have three chances. I thought we played pretty well. We came out hard and kind of let off a little bit," Cornejo said.
Cornejo said he and his coaching staff had high hopes for the state tournament.
"That's the hard part. They put everything they had into that stretch to win conference. You just want to see them achieve to what they are after. We were second best today (Thursday). Laramie was good and they played clean. We got beat by a better team today," Cornejo said.
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