Strong Wrangler defense keeps Lander at bay

Robert Galbreath photo Sophomore Graham Harber battles for control of the ball during the April 27 varsity game against Lander.

PINEDALE – The Pinedale Wrangler boys’ soccer team squared off against the No. 4-ranked Lander Tigers and a powerful, sustained wind on Friday, April 27.

The game turned into a tale of two halves. An aggressive, cohesive Wrangler defense fought Lander to a 0-0 stalemate in the first half.

Lander outmaneuvered the Wranglers in the second half to end the tie and secure the win, 4-0.

“The first half was easily the best half of our season,” said Head Coach George Vlastos. “Our defense did their usual heavy lifting, frustrating Lander’s attack and setting up our midfield to push toward Lander’s goal. Dylan Call proved to be a fine X-factor penetrating from both sides of the pitch. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get one into the net.”

Pinedale came up short in matching Lander’s intensity in the second half, Vlastos added.

“A shout out needs to go to out goalkeeper, Brody Hamby, who continued to do excellent work for the team,” he noted. “He made many clutch saves throughout the match and provided a confidence that is indispensable to our backline.”

Hamby set the tone in the first 40 minutes with three saves early in the opening half. On offense, sophomore Edwin Vega maneuvered through the Lander defense to make a shot on goal.

Hamby tallied three more saves. Juniors Jayce Ramage and Dustin Larsen cleared the ball. Fellow junior Graham Harber cleared the field with a powerful kick.

Hamby closed out the first half with seven additional saves.

Graham Harber kicked off the second half with a shot on goal. Defensive pressure by junior Fisher Vance prevented the Tigers from scoring.

Lander eventually broke through the Wranglers’ perimeter to score. Call delivered a shot on goal. Junior Bill Harber cleared the ball before the Tigers scored again.

Vega, sophomore Christian Sosa Sanchez and Call each made shots on goal. Hamby tallied five saves as the second half progressed. A header by Larsen on defense sent the ball back into Tiger territory.

Pinedale traveled to Lander for a rematch on Thursday, May 4. Results were not available at press time.

Pinedale hosts Green River on Friday, May 5 with the Lady Wranglers playing at 3 p.m. followed by the Wranglers at 5 p.m. Saturday features a home game against Powell with game times at 10 a.m. for the Lady Wranglers and 12 p.m. for the Wranglers.