Wolverines roll past Jackson, 2-0Apr 16, 2017 By Scott Akanewich, Sports Editor
Slade Becker and Reed Axthelm fired Riverton to a road victory against Jackson.
At this rate, Slade Becker may never need his goalkeeping gloves again.
The Wolverines' shot-stopper-turned-attacker scored for the second game on the bounce in a 2-0 Riverton road victory against Jackson on Saturday.
After a scoreless opening 40 minutes against the Broncs, Becker struck in the 51st minute off a pass from fellow frontman Reed Axthelm, who sent a cross in from the right flank to the waiting Becker, who received the ball, expertly spun around 180 degrees and scored with an exquisite shot past the Jackson keeper.
"It was a real veteran move by Slade," said Wolverines head coach Aziz Waheed. "Especially, how he spun around."
In the 74th minute, Axthelm got the ball on a break after a blocked shot by Wolverines defender Cade Campbell ricocheted directly to him, resulting in Axthelm's 11th goal of the season and killed the game off for the visitors.
"It was a fun game where we came out a played exceptionally well," said Waheed. "We were covering ground, getting passes and our decision-making was great."
However, one thing which continues to vex the Wolverines boss is his club's lack of scoring acumen in opening halves of games, which he knows his charges need to improve upon, he said.
"We create a lot of opportunities, but we need to score in the first half," said Waheed. "But, what I love is how even after we score, we keep attacking."
Shawn Curtain has stepped in for Becker between the pipes the past two games and done well, as have others along the Big Red back line, composed of center backs Jason Thoren and Campbell and wing backs Sam Shepardson and Steven Jones.
But on this afternoon, an unsung hero had an excellent effort in Kevin Schmidt, said Waheed.
"Kevin played exceptionally well today," he said. "He was everywhere, picking off passes and was a critical member of our team who stopped their attack before it could even build."
As for Becker, his humble acceptance of his new role at the opposite end of the pitch is the epitome of team, said Waheed.
"When I approached Slade about making the switch, he said whatever is best for the team," he said. "I can't say enough about what a great teammate he is."
Riverton (6-3-2, 1-0-1 Class 3-A Southwest) will next travel to Pinedale on Thursday before returning home to host Star Valley on Friday in a pair of pivotal conference games.