Lady Plainsmen Soccer Needs One Key Victory
It all comes down to one single match against a rival for the Laramie Lady Plainsmen soccer team, in order to qualify for the state tournament this year.
The No. 4 seed Lady Plainsmen (7-5-1) take on No. 5 seed Cheyenne East (7-7-2) at the 4A East Regional Soccer Tournament from Thunder Basin High School in Gillette Thursday at 5 p.m.
Laramie head coach Kim Whisenant says they only focus on one match at a time, so it’s not that big of a deal.
“It is what it is at this point. You can’t really do anything about it. We just have to get ready for it.”
As for playing the Thunderbirds just seven days after beating them (4-1) in the regular season finale last Friday, Whisenant believes it’s not that big of an issue, and they just need to get their game-plan ready. She also knows Cheyenne East head coach Jim Gardner likes to pull out all the stops this time of year.
“We do too. Therefore, we’ll just match what he throws at us, and we’ve got some tricks up our sleeve, as well.”
Whisenant knows it’ll be a battle against the Thunderbirds.
“Just trying to change-up what we do with personnel is what helped us a little bit last time, and then defensively. Then, heading into this time around, like I said, I’ll just kind of have to peak at what they set-up and kind of adjust around that. Mostly, just stick to our game plan. Try to keep possession of the ball, and obviously, the airplay is huge for us, and if we can tackle those things, it’ll go the way we want it to.”
Senior and reigning Gatorade Player of the Year Lexi Pulley feels confident going into the match.
“I know that we can beat them again and show that we can compete with any team in this region at state.”
She adds, “I’m definitely nervous, just because this could be possibly my last game in high school, and so that makes me nervous, but I know that we can do it.”
Pulley was actually injured in the first meeting between the two teams. That resulted in a 2-2 tie on April 11 in Laramie. The Lady Plainsmen won 4-1 in Cheyenne May 11.
Fellow senior and keeper Mattie Carlson says it’s about them, not really their opponent.
“I think for us we have a lot of mental barriers, and not necessarily physical barriers that we have to get through, so just keeping the momentum up throughout the game will definitely help us out, I think.”
Carlson does believe Cheyenne East is a tough team.
“They’re very resilient, and I really admire that about them. Still, I think, we may have the upper hand.”
One person Carlson knows they’ll be keeping an eye on is Thunderbirds forward Sydney Miller.
“What we really try to do is limit their ability to get in the gaps, and kind of put a ‘thumb on’ Sydney Miller, and I think we did a really good job of that last time.”
Laramie plays Cheyenne East at 5 p.m. in Gillette. The winner moves on to face top-seed Cheyenne Central in the regional semifinals Friday. They would also qualify for state next week in Jackson and get to play four more matches this season.
The other first-round, loser-out, match is between No. 3 seed Campbell County and No. 6 seed Sheridan. The winner faces Thunder Basin Friday.