Mar 25, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorLander Valley High School took an important step toward automatic qualifying for the Class 3-A state boys soccer tournament by recording a commanding 5-1 victory over Torrington Saturday afternoon in front of the home fans.
The match opened Class 3-A Southeast conference play.
The top squad from the regular conference season will get a No. 1 seed and won't have to play in a play-in match to qualify for the state tournament. Torrington, Rawlins and LVHS make up the conference.
The three teams will play a home-and-away series against each other during the regular season.
"Both teams were a little tired from games on Friday," LVHS coach Dan Howlett said. "I thought that we passed well. We were happy with the win."
Jackson downed the Tigers 4-2 Friday night in Lander.
Jackson has emerged as one of the favorites in the Class 3-A division after wins vs. Class 4-A Cheyenne East and Kelly Walsh in the first weekend of play.
"Jackson is very talented and very fast," Howlett said. "For us to get them latter in the season, we will need to figure out some things to do on the defensive side of the ball."
The rematch against Jackson is May 1 in Teton County.
Lander 5, Torrington 1
The Tigers showed balanced scoring in the first half against Torrington.
Lander's Kyle Leemon created the first scoring chance four minutes into the match.
After the first goal, Torrington had a breakaway opportunity by kicking the ball over the net. Trapper Lee forced the issue minutes latter and was pulled down in the penalty box by a Torrington defender.
LVHS was awarded the penalty kick, and Josh Thoren hit it right into the net for the 2-0 lead.
The Tigers went up 3-0 after a long shot from Casey Winger.
LVHS finished the first half scoring after Henry Austin kicked the ball from a corner kick, and Lee headed it into the net.
"We got a lot of people involved in scoring," Howlett said.
Daniel Bolding added one more goal in the final 40 minutes for LVHS.
"Torrington has a couple of kids with quality shots," Howlett said. "We just have to respect them and play them tough again when we go up there."
Jackson 4, Lander 2
Jackson freshman forward Juan Morillon made his mark early, scoring three minutes into the first half on a short blast against LVHS goalkeeper Marcus Vigil.
"Morillon has great skills. He is very deadly, especially from short distance," Howlett said. "We felt bad for our goalie because they were coming from six yards or seven yards. You can't blame the goalie."
LVHS knotted the score at 1-1 at the 49th minute mark on a breakaway goal by Leemon.
Morillon took over the contest on his own in the final 30 minutes.
He scored his second goal a minute after Leemon tied it up, then put in his third goal with 15 minutes left. His fourth goal iced the game minutes later. The Jackson freshman didn't play the final 10 minutes of the match because of the large cushion.
"They had quick give-and-gos," Howlett said. "They have three or four quick, little guys that are very good passers."
Thoren pulled LVHS to within two on a penalty kick.
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