It’s been a road ten years in the making. The road to respectability traveled by the SVHS soccer teams as they have evolved from participants, to also-rans and now contenders over the initial decade of play.
This past weekend, the Lady Braves collected the first ever win over a Jackson Hole High School varsity soccer team while the Braves defeated the defending champion Buffalo Bison. Both wins were also rematches of the Wyoming 3A title games last spring which had different outcomes.
With a pair of home matches to close out the regular season, the squads are riding high but will be challenged to maintain some very hard-fought momentum as they host teams from Powell and Cody.
Going back a decade, the effort and willingness was always there, but now the expectations have changed.
Lady Braves capture Southwest District
A flat outing which included an own-goal in Lander on April 19 is now a distant memory for the streaking Lady Braves who are now 6-1-1 in their last eight matches. Among those wins was a historic 1-0 victory over the Jackson Lady Broncs (4-5-1)(1-1-1) on Friday afternoon, the first varsity soccer win for a Star Valley (9-4-1)(3-0-1) team over their rivals to the north.
It was a match that was played very equally in the score sheet for most of the day, although the Lady Braves controlled the tempo of the match for the most part and compiled 12 shots on goal compared to six for Jackson.
It wasn’t until the 58th minute that the ladies pressed to the right side of the Jackson net and keeper Faith Hamlin that the game winner took place. The Lady Bronc defenders kept the offense at bay but Madelon Jones found Hayley Garner who was in position to beat the keeper off a converted cross into the left side of the net. It is the first time a Lady Braves team has had the lead on a Jackson club on their own field and it held up
due to a stellar effort from the Star Valley defense. Sadie Hokum played a flawless match as defender and freshman Rylee Bermester played both halves in goal and collected the shutout.
The following day, the Lady Braves took on the Buffalo Lady Bison (4-5)(2-0) and were carried by junior Kenedey Brog who scored twice in the first half in the 14th & 21st minutes after BHS took a 1-0 lead. Jessica Woodford assisted on the second goal.
The weekend’s effort now has the Lady Braves in the drivers seat heading into the post-season as they have clinched a #1 seed at state as the winner of the Southwest District.
The ladies will try to keep the momentum rolling this weekend as they host Powell (5-8)(1-2) on Friday and Cody (8-5)(2-1) on Saturday at Braves Field to close out the regular season. They will be looking to avenge a 1-0 loss to the Fillies back on March 28. They will begin Friday’s match at 4 p.m. with Saturday’s effort slated for 10 a.m. The Independent invites area residents to come and support the Lady Braves in their final home matches and send off a group of seniors instrumental in the program’s success over the past four seasons.
Braves pick up signature win versus Buffalo
It has been a brutal stretch for the Braves soccer team as they have been tested by the best teams in the 3A classification in the past two and a half weeks. Up until Saturday, those matches had a moral victory attached to them, but when the Braves collected a 1-0 win over perennial power Buffalo to move to 9-5 on the season, they made a statement that they are a threat to return to the title match.
After dispatching Pinedale 4-0 last Tuesday, the squad had a tough match against the undefeated Jackson Broncs on Friday afternoon in Teton County, eventually falling 2-0. It was a match that could have been better or worse depending on just how you wanted to describe it. The Broncs did not want for quality shots on goal, but only managed to put in two past Ammon Guild and the Star Valley defense. On the other side, the Braves had their share of quality shots including one off the crossbar from Trace Haderlie, a near score from Hyrum England in a scrum inside the Jackson box and then there was the penalty kick from Dayne Abrams which was snuffed out by great effort from the Jackson keeper.
“The kids played well in both games,” replied head coach Scott Berglund. “They used our system and played hard. We used our athleticism to our advantage in both games.”
The team got on the bus where they continued to Lander and a neutral field against the Bison who defeated Star Valley 1-0 in last season’s 3A championship match. This time a scoreless match went late into the afternoon before a Robby Smith goal turned out to be the game winner and as big a win as the team has had this season. Smith was assisted by Kelton Robinson who is increasingly becoming involved in the offense.
“We applied good pressure all over the field,” Berglund continued. “Bryan Burton was our defender of the game he was dominant as the defensive midfield and Ammon Guild was incredible in goal.”
The team will now host the Powell Panthers (4-4)(2-1)on Friday afternoon at 6 p.m. where they will try and avenge a 4-3 overtime loss in Park County from earlier this season. The team will then close out the regular season on Saturday afternoon at 12 p.m. against the Cody Broncs (5-8)(1-2). The Independent highly encourages residents to come take part in the growing crowd of regulars for SVHS soccer and send off a terrific senior class.
“[We’re] looking forward to good matches with Cody and Powell this weekend,” Berglund said. “Come and support the team and the senior on their last two home games against two quality programs.”
• Post-season speculation – With the loss to Jackson, the Braves will now have to play the #3NE team for a chance to go to state, currently the Newcastle Dogies (1-10)(0-3). If they were to win, they would likely play the Lander Tigers (12-2)(4-0) in the opening round of the state tournament in Jackson on May 22.