Apr 16, 2017 - By Scott Akanewich, Sports EditorLander's girls fought back from an early deficit to claim victory against the visiting Lady Outlaws.
On Thursday in Lander, the wind pounded the players, along with everyone in attendance on a warm, spring afternoon at the foot of the Wind River Mountains.
But, that wasn't the only thing flying around the field, as the Lady Tigers conceded early, only to mount a fightback with three unanswered strikes in a 3-1 victory against Rawlins.
Kiley McConnell provided an equalizer in the 52nd minute on a penalty kick after striker Zoe Peterson was brought down in the area, canceling out a Rawlins goal at the death of the first half, which had given the visitors a 1-0 advantage after 40 minutes.
But, Lander was just beginning to go to work on the Lady Outlaws' defense, as Autumn Hnilicka netted in the 72nd minute, with what was the eventual game-winner, before McKenna Kail added an insurance marker in the 75th minute to salt away victory over their conference opponents.
According to Lander head coach Gabe Joyes, his players remained composed even after falling behind.
"Our girls stayed calm and relaxed on the ball," said Joyes. "Rawlins only had two chances and scored on one of them, so we knew we just needed to keep doing what we were doing. I was really pleased with the mental strength and resilience they showed."
One player who had a massive impact on proceedings was freshman Abby Renner, who constantly harassed the Rawlins defense with probing runs and precision passes.
"We've told Abby to be more adventurous in gong forward," said Joyes. "She really made them uncomfortable."
Joyes also singled out defender Becky Cecerle, who had a strong effort in front of goalkeeper Abby Hamilton, who stood firm following the early goal, with several saves.
Lander (3-3, 2-0 Class 3-A Southeast) moved into first place in the league standings with the win and will next face Cody away on Tuesday before returning home to host Buffalo on Friday.
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