The Lady Plainsmen Are Back in the State Championship Game [UPDATED]
A second half comeback has put the Laramie Lady Plainsmen in position to defend their state soccer title. Laramie defeated Cheyenne East 4-3 Friday’s semifinals.
Lady Plainsmen head coach Kim Whisenant said they made the best of today.
“We worked as a team, followed the game-plan and played the style I wanted to play. Just really proud of the kids for fighting as hard as they did.”
In a back-and-forth match, it was a penalty kick goal that gave Laramie the victory. That came from senior Paige Trent, who also converted a PK for a goal in the first round win Thursday.
The Lady Plainsmen trailed 2-0 until junior Lexi Pulley found the back of the net in the 37th minute. It was 2-1 East at half.
Whisenant said, “I told them at halftime this shows our character, if we could bounce back from that (early 2-0 deficit), and we did just that. We’re just a very resilient group… won a lot of ‘air-balls’ which helped, and just really clicked on passes. It was everything I knew the kids could do.”
Laramie responded with two goals early in the second half and took a 3-2 lead. Senior’s Allison McElwee (49th) and Bridgette Johnson (57th) were the goal scorers.
The Thunderbirds tied it just six minutes later. In the 73rd minute, a foul in the box led to the Lady Plainsmen being rewarded with a PK, and the senior, Trent, pulled through again.
Laramie will play for the fifth girls’ soccer title in school history Saturday at the Big Horn Equestrian Center. They will face the Gillette Camels in a rematch of last year’s state championship match.
Whisenant knows what’s next.
“They’re (Gillette’s) going to be wanting it bad because of last year didn’t go the way they wanted it to, but we want it just as bad, too. We want to be able to say that we got that state championship again, and we’re going to defend it and fight hard for it.”
The Lady Plainsmen are 0-3 against Gillette this season. They have lost by scores of 2-1 (in Gillette), 1-0 in overtime (at home) and 3-0 (Regional 3rd place match last week).
Whisenant added, “The kids laid it all on the field today (Friday), and I told them, one more, and then we can rest. I think they’re going to come together. We have 10 seniors, so hopefully those girls can get them excited and lead on and off the field for tomorrow (Saturday).”
The 4A girl’s state championship match is set to start at 2 p.m. Saturday.
It might not be the championship game they were hoping for, but the Laramie Plainsmen survived a “loser out” consolation match at the state soccer tournament Friday with a 4-0 victory over Rock Springs.
Plainsmen head coach Dan Benford said his squad had something left to prove.
“Knowing that we dropped a tough one in the first round, and we had higher hopes for the tournament, they didn’t want to leave on that note. They certainly didn’t want to leave that impression of the team with the state, so they came out and played tough, and took it to a good Rock Springs team that had led the West (Conference) all season.”
Following a scoreless first half, it was junior Cadel Rosales that finally got LHS on the board. That goal came in the 53rd minute. Seven minutes later, junior Enrique Isidro added to the Laramie lead.
The Plainsmen added two goals in the final three minutes from junior Sean Doherty and senior Blake Moore.
Laramie advances to the consolation championship of the 4A boy’s bracket.
Benford added, “We definitely want to come home with something, and just that pride of playing for our community. We’re playing a team in Natrona that we saw on a sloppy day early in the season… so I think we’ll have a different game.”
They will face the N-C Mustangs Saturday at 9 a.m. from the Big Horn Equestrian Center.