Mar 25, 2012 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterAlthough the Riverton Wolverine boys soccer team (0-3, 0-1 4-A West) dominated the first half of play Saturday at Wolverine field and created several solid offensive opportunities, RHS was unable to find the back of the net and fell 1-0 to Rock Springs in the Class 4-A West conference opener.
A win would have been welcomed by Wolverine head coach Erly Cornejo, but the entire Wolverine coaching staff was more than pleased with an improved team effort after a lackluster performance in a loss Thursday at Worland.
"I loved the way the kids responded. For a bunch of young kids to respond they way they did was amazing. I think we pushed so much energy coming out for this game that they worked themselves to death. That is all I wanted," Cornejo said.
Riverton found itself with no less than four solid scoring chances in the first half. The best came just five minutes into the game when senior striker Shaydon Coulson found junior striker Aaron Nirider just outside the Tigers' goal area in front of the net, but Nirider couldn't quite control the ball to get a solid shot.
Coulson's ability to execute flip-style throw-ins kept constant pressure on the Tiger defense throughout the first half and helped Riverton outshoot the Rock Springs 7-4 before the halftime break.
But the second half was different. Rock Springs used Riverton's aggressive offensive effort to attempt quick counter attacks, and the Tigers' physical style of play -- Rock Springs committed 13 fouls to Riverton's two -- began to wear on Riverton.
Tiger junior Erick Piedra lobbed a shot just over the outstretched hands of Riverton's goalkeeper Logan Ridgway in the 48th minute to get the game winner for Rock Springs.
Riverton freshman Tristan White tried to answer. White broke free just off the right side of the goal and ripped a shot right at the Tiger keeper Gus Wagner, who made the catch save.
White had one more shot late in the game from nearly the same spot on the field. This time White tried to shoot for the far post, but Wanger made a nice diving save to his right.
"Today the focus was to get after it and go. Not only in the first half did we get after it, we played some pretty good ball. They are technically sound," Cornejo said.
In the junior varsity contest against Rock Springs prior to the varsity game, the Tigers dominated the Wolverines 8-0.
Riverton will have a full week of practice before trying to get its first win of the year at home against Casper Natrona on Friday night.
Game time at Wolverine Field for the Class 4-A West conference game is 6 p.m.
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