One Goal in Mind for Both Laramie High School Soccer Teams
It may be a new venue, but it's the same outlook for both the #1 Laramie Lady Plainsmen and the #2 Laramie Plainsmen, as they take part in the 2013 Wyoming State Soccer Championships in Rock Springs tomorrow through Saturday. Both teams are expected to contend for state titles this weekend.
Both teams have drawn Riverton in their first round match-ups. The top-seeded Lady Plainsmen will face the fourth-seeded Lady Wolverines at 9 a.m. Thursday at Rock Springs High School. Meanwhile, the second-seeded Plainsmen face the third-seeded Wolverines at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the Rock Springs Junior High fields.
The Laramie Lady Plainsmen (12-2) have finished in the top three every year since 2006. They last won a state title in 2010. They rolled to the 4A East Regional title last week with two shut-out victories over Sheridan and Cheyenne East by a combined 6-0 score.
Head coach Kim Whisenant says, "The kids are feeling confident and playing confident. We're going to take each game as it comes. The early start on Thursday is kind of a bummer, but we'll be ready for it, no matter what. Being able to have three wins in a row is really nice heading into state."
Senior Lindsey Martinez says, "I think we're playing well, but I still think the best is yet to come. We've been working hard in practice and communicating well with each other on the field. We're finding those easier passes that I think we overlooked in the past. We know how we play, and we know each other will be there, and we can find each other."
Senior Nikki Vaporis adds, "We've been successful this whole season, and we know how our teams works. So, we just have to play our game, and we should be successful."
The Lady Plainsmen face an unknown in their first round match against Riverton.
Whisenant says, "I think it's going to be one of those games where, they'll try to put a lot of pressure on us in the beginning, and we're going to try to do the same thing. We want to be able to play our best soccer at the last part of the season, which is these three games. We're going to keep within our system, knock it around and see what we can do."
As for the Laramie Plainsmen (10-4-1), they've been a contender for all but one of the last seven seasons. Their last title was also in 2010. They lost a tough 4A East Regional final 2-1 to the Gillette Camels last Saturday. That match went to the second round of a shoot-out, which LHS lost 6-5.
Going into state head Coach Andy Pannell says, "We feel like we're right there with Gillette, but we're definitely not looking ahead to Saturday and a championship match. We know that we've got a really tough match against Riverton. I'm hoping we bring that same tough mindedness to that game."
Junior Gabe Selting says we have to stay focused on the task at hand, "No matter what you're seeded, as you're going into the state championships, it's all about having the right mindset and not thinking that any game is going to be a gimme. Each game, your team's got to do all they can do, and as a player, you have to do all that you can do, so that you don't underestimate a team or think ahead to the next match. It's really about the match you're about to play in. That's what's most important."
Laramie knows the Wolverines possess the leading goal scorer in the state in Tristan White, who has put 14 into the back of the net this year.
Pannell says, "This kid is going to be tough. We just know that they've got a tough-minded, smart coach, in Erly Cornejo, who does a nice job with their program. He always has them playing hard and organized. We're expecting a hard-nosed, tough team. We've got to be super tough defensively and not give them, especially White, a lot of opportunities."
Going in, Laramie feels they can get to where they want to be, which is in the title match on Saturday.
Junior Captain Cameron Skinner says, "We started out the year kind of not knowing each other as players, not knowing each other as a team. I think that now, we've developed, and our chemistry is the main focus."
By Saturday evening, we'll know if Laramie has become 'Titletown' on the pitch again, like it was in 2008 and 2010.