Apr 16, 2017 - By Scott Akanewich, Sports EditorDaniel Lobera and Jacob Lytle scored for Lander in their home opener against Rawlins.
On a beautiful Thursday afternoon more suited for summer in the Lander Valley, the Tigers took on the visiting Outlaws of Rawlins in their first home soccer match of the season and came away with a comprehensive 2-0 victory.
Jacob Lytle scored in the 17th minute to give the home side a lead it wouldn't relinquish.
Lytle struck a shot from just outside the area, low to the ground with plenty of pace, which eluded the Rawlins keeper and found the back of the net for his first goal of the season.
The Lander defense remained strong when the Outlaws managed to get the ball into the attacking third, which was on rare occasion, with head coach Dean Schaff's squad bossing possession throughout the opening 40 minutes.
Finally, in the 39th minute, Daniel Lobera set a hard shot goalward which the Outlaw keeper did well to stop, but parried it directly into the path of the onrushing Lobera, who followed his blast by pouncing on the juicy rebound and scoring for a 2-0 advantage.
With the wind whipping across the pitch with gusts of up to 40 mph on a blustery afternoon, both sides fought the elements as well as the opposition, resulting in a scoreless second half.
But, the first-half assault was all Schaff's charges needed on the day.
"I felt really good about this one," said Schaff. "We had good intensity and no let-ups which we've been having lately. The effort was really back for us today."
Not only was it victory in a home opener, but a conference game to boot, which pleased the Tigers' boss, he said.
"We know we have to defend our home field," said Schaff. "The fact it was a conference game is even better."
It was Lobera and Lytle who lit up the scoresheet for the Tigers, but Schaff put in a good word for another pair of players who put in a workmanlike shift, in goalkeeper Abe Lowham and midfielder Jed Welsh.
"Abe did a great job for us in goal today controlling things from the back," said Schaff. "Jed is also one of our leaders and had a good day."
Lander (4-2, 1-1 Class 3-A Southeast) will next travel to Cody on Tuesday before returning home to host Pinedale on Friday.
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