Apr 20, 2017 - By Scott Akanewich, Sports EditorBack-to-back conference games against Pinedale and Star Valley will help define Riverton High School's soccer season.
During every season, in any sport, comes a time when a team is made or broken, a turning point which could lead to success or failure, or at the very least, go a long way toward determining a squad's fate.
For the Riverton Wolverines soccer teams, that juncture is here.
Both the RHS boys and girls travel to Pinedale on Thursday, then return home for a match against Star Valley, in a pair of Class 3-A Southwest conference games which form the back end of their respective league fixture lists.
Not only will the Wolverines face formidable opposition in the Wranglers and Braves, but a 314-mile round-trip journey with a school day and only 24 hours between these critical contests.
Riverton opened its season in Star Valley, as the boys played to a 1-1 draw, while the Lady Wolverines were defeated, 7-0.
Both the boys and girls were victorious by identical 3-0 scorelines when Pinedale visited Wolverine Field on April 11.
Reed Axthelm scored the lone Riverton goal against the Braves and has gone on to be Class 3-A's leading scorer, with 11 goals on the current campaign.
However, in recent weeks, head coach Aziz Waheed's club has received balanced scoring from the likes of Nic Fenton, Jason Thoren and in particular, Slade Becker, who has been pressed into service up front after serving as the Wolverines' No. 1 goalkeeper, responding with a pair of crucial goals.
First, Becker scored the only goal in Riverton's 1-0 home win against top-ranked Worland on April 13, then proved it was no fluke with another strike next time out in a 2-0 road win against Cody on Saturday.
For the boys (6-3-2, 1-0-1 Class 3-A Southwest) destiny lies in their own hands, as victories in both games would punch their ticket to the Class 3-A state tournament in Sheridan on May 18-20.
The Lady Wolverines (3-8, 1-1) have a bit more work to do and much of that will come down to goalkeeper Madisyn Pantle, who leads the state with 127 saves on the season.
Only three regular season games will remain for both squads following the pair of contests on Thursday and Friday.
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