May 10, 2017 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterAfter playing even through 80 minutes of regulation soccer, the Lander Lady Tigers scored twice in overtime to defeat the Riverton Lady Wolverines 2-0 on Tuesday evening at Wolverine Field in a Class 3-A non-conference match.
The game was a tune-up for Saturday's must-win regional play-in game, which has Riverton challenging Torrington in Worland on Saturday afternoon for the opportunity to advance to the state tournament.
Lander has already qualified for state and will play the winner of the Powell-Douglas regional play-in contest in its first-round state tournament match.
Riverton started quick, in fact, very quick, taking the opening kick straight up the middle with a three-pass combination that found Cydney Bradley one-on-one with Lander keeper Abby Hamilton in the game's first seconds. Bradley fired, but Hamilton stepped forward to cut Bradley's angle and made the save at near point-blank range.
The match progressed with neither team generating much offense until the final moments of the first half, when senior midfielder Zoe Peterson ripped a left-footed missile that clanked off the post, out of reach of Riverton goalkeeper Madisyn Pantle.
"We didn't have a lot going on in the final third, but I thought we did a wonderful job controlling play in the midfield," said Lander head coach Gabe Joyes. "I thought we controlled most of the play in the game."
Both teams struggled to produce offense in the second half, but the Lady Wolverines lost more than just an inability to score.
Sophomore midfielder Grace Miller suffered what may be a season-ending leg injury in the 50th minute and was carried off the field by teammate Maci Post.
Miller, whose last shot zipped just over the top of the goal, along with freshman striker Cydney Bradley, had consistently kept pressure on the Lady Tigers throughout the first half and early into the second.
With the teams tied after regulation, Lander generated its best offense in overtime and in the 84th minute, Pantle made a solid save off an indirect kick, but the rebound fell to the feet of Ine Berthinussen and the senior midfielder made the Lady Wolverines pay.
"The set play ended up being decisive for us," said Joyes. "It gave us the opportunity to get the ball behind their defense, get a lucky bounce and poke the ball into the net."
Five minutes later, Peterson curled a Tigers corner kick banana-style directly into the net for added insurance.
"We felt like this was a game we should win and I felt we dominated play in regular time," said Riverton head coach Tanyee Santee. "We got a weird obstruction call and after they got the goal, we couldn't respond."
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