The Scottsbluff girls shook off a 10-0 loss to No. 9 North Platte (Omaha World-Herald) on Friday and bounced back Saturday with a thrilling 2-1 shootout-win over Sterling, Colo., at the Landers Complex in Scottsbluff.
The Gering boys soccer team was also in action on Saturday, falling 4-1 to highly-ranked Laramie, Wyo. at the Landers Complex.
With the win, the Bearcat girls finish the regular season with a 6-10 mark. They’ll compete in the Class B, District 6 Tournament on Monday. The Gering boys finished the regular season with a 7-10 record and will face Scottsbluff in the first round of the district tournament on Monday.
“We went the distance today,” Scottsbluff coach Chad Larson said. “We were so compacted last night. Everybody was pulling back in and inviting [North Platte] to shoot. Today, I thought we did really good. We spread out and really kept their defense spread.”
The Bearcats struck early in the match when Kenzie Sanchez scored just four minutes into the match on an assist by Aubree Ford, giving Scottsbluff the 1-0 advantage.
Sterling, However, came back in the 21st minute to knot the score at 1-1.
Neither team was able to generate the offense to get an advantage in the second half or in overtime, therefore sending Scottsbluff to its first shootout in two years.
“We haven’t had a shootout all season,” Larson said. “I don’t think we had one last year either. The year before we had a couple, but this year and last year, this was our first one in quite awhile.”
Sterling missed the first shot in the shootout, setting up Scottsbluff’s Kayla Pierce who connected on her first attempt to push the momentum the Bearcats’ way. Sterling missed again on it’s second shot, opening the door for Micah Holloway to bury her attempt and give Scottsbluff a 2-0 cushion heading into the third shooter.
The Tigers were able to slip their third attempt past the goalie, but Sanchez came through again for the Bearcats with a goal to win the shootout 3-1 for the match.
Larson lauded his squad’s ability to bounce back after the tough loss on Friday, but said there was a little frustration circling after not being able to capitalize on a 32-shot effort with 16 of those being on frame.
“We had the opportunity to shoot, we just didn’t finish today,” Larson said. “It was one of those games where the girls get down there and are just holding the ball too long, their pass is late, or they’re just not shooting the ball – pulling the trigger. It was a little frustrating. I think the girls were kind of frustrated, too. We felt like we should have been scoring more goals and we just weren’t.”
Morgan Westphal had a superb day in goal with three saves. Additionally, Scottsbluff held the 8-2 advantage on corner kicks in the match.
The Gering boys, who were trying to bounce back from three straight losses, found themselves down just 2-1 at halftime after James Guzman found the back of the net on an Aaron Nietz assist in the first half.
However, the Bulldogs left the gates open late in the second half, allowing two more Laramie goals before falling 4-1 in the contest.
“We played really well,” Gering coach Justin Clark said of the Bulldogs’ effort against a top Wyoming squad. “We came out at halftime and talked about a few mistakes we made in the first half. We left a goal out there, we had a penalty kick that we didn’t capitalize on and we could have tied it up at halftime. We talked that here we are at half and we’re only down 2-1and really didn’t play that well. We need to go out in the second half [and play well], and for the most part we did until the very end.”
Despite the loss, Gering’s Dylan Wetherington played well in goal after stopping six Laramie attempts on goal. Clark noted that Wetherington has come a long way this season.
“He did a great job,” Clark said of Weatherington’s play on Saturday. “He’s starting to come into his own a little bit – getting a little more aggressive, a little more outgoing in there for us. When he plays like that, it really helps. I’m glad to see that he’s finally starting to get comfortable in there and play with a lot more confidence.”
The Class B, District 6 six tournament will start on Monday with the No. 5 Bulldogs taking on No. 4 Scottsbluff at the Landers Soccer Complex. Kick off is set for 5 p.m.
“I think it’s going to take a good game,” Clark said about facing Scottsbluff in the first round of the district tournament. “We’ve been close with them in every game we’ve played so far this year. For us to get out and get a win, we’re going to have to capitalize on our opportunities and eliminate a lot of mistakes. We know it’s going to be physically demanding, it’s going to be mentally demanding, and the kids are ready to go. They’re ready to play it. We just need to make sure that we make fewer mistakes than they do.”
For a complete boys district tournament bracket, go to http://www.nsaahome.org/nsaaforms/officials/sobbrackets.php?distid=12.
A complete girls district tournament bracket can be found at http://www.nsaahome.org/nsaaforms/officials/sogbrackets.php?distid=24.