After good win to open state, Tiger boys drop remaining two games

May 20, 2013 By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

JACKSON -- The breaks and the bounces didn't go the right way for the Lander Valley High School Tigers Thursday at the Class 3-A state soccer tournament in Jackson.

The Tigers posted a 1-2 record Thursday through Saturday at state after winning 3-0 Thursday afternoon over Powell in the opening round.

LVHS dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to Star Valley in one of the semifinal matches Friday night.

Jackson blanked LVHS 3-0 for third placeSaturday afternoon.

LVHS had aspirations of playing in the championship match after going through the regular season with a 10-3-1 mark.

"The first game is one of those that was pretty easy," LVHS coach Dan Howlett said. "The second game was very physical. We got a couple of kids hurt that didn't play on Saturday."

LVHS lost forward Kyle Leemon in the first two minutes Saturday when he was pushed from behind by a Jackson player and rolled his ankle.

Leemon is the top scorer in the Class 3-A division.

"That hurt us a lot," Howlett said

Trapper Lee stepped up in Leemon's absence, but the Tigers couldn't find the net.

Buffalo upset Jackson 2-1 in the semifinals to knock the defending champions from the title race.

"We thought that we would be playing Jackson in the championship match, not for third," Howlett said.

Buffalo beat Star Valley 1-0 for the Class 3-A championship.

LVHS, Buffalo and Jackson were all No. 1 seeds for the tournament.

Star Valley 2, LVHS 1

The tempo of the match was set right from the start Friday when LVHS player Jordan Crane was injured on a no call after a Star Valley player took him down in the first five minutes.

"That started it," Howlett said. "It remained very physical."

When Star Valley had corner kicks, the Braves would contact LVHS goalkeeper Jess Oldham.

"I know that Star Valley plays physical," Howlett said. "I wasn't ready for the officials to allow it. That always makes for a tough situation."

The two teams were scoreless in the first 40 minutes.

Star Valley scored first 12 minutes into the second half.

With five minutes left in regulation, Leemon broke free from Star Valley's defense to knot it up at 1-1.

Star Valley scored in the first minute of overtime to take the lead for good against the Tigers.

"We missed some opportunities," Howlett said. "We gave up a couple of goals."

LVHS 3, Powell 0

Leemon scored the first goal of the match at the 24th minute. Casey Winger earned the assist.

"Kyle brings a lot of speed and energy," Howlett said.

The LVHS coaching staff felt the Tigers should have had a penalty kick in the first five minutes of the match.

Leemon was taken down in the box, but no call was made.

"That would have turned things around and made a difference," Howlett said.

Lee scored on a scoring opportunity after a pass from Leemon.

Early in the second half, Leemon put his second ball in to give Howlett a chance to play his younger players.

Oldham finished with four saves.

"The wind was behind Powell in the first half," Howlett said. "We hoped to get the wind behind us and put some pressure on."

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