STAR VALLEY – It was a tough week for the Pinedale High School varsity boys soccer team, as it headed out on the road for a pair of difficult matchups against Rawlins and Star Valley over the past week.
Pinedale’s first game of the week came last Friday when the team played Rawlins in Rawlins. The Wranglers started the match out strong, with both teams playing on an even keel throughout the opening half.
“We came out pretty strong with a couple of opportunities coming in the first half,” head coach JD Dudrey said.
At the break, the game was all tied up at 0-0.
That soon changed, however, as Rawlins came back strong early in the second half to put up a pair of goals to give the Outlaws a 2-0 advantage. Pinedale couldn’t seem to find the back of the net to counter the scores, allowing Rawlins pull away with a 2-0 victory.
The coach noted that strong performances came from both senior Adam Walker and junior Vicente Acosta.
Despite the loss, Dudrey was pleased with his team’s effort out on the field, as the Wranglers never let up throughout the match.
“We played very hard and the kids never gave up,” he said. “The kids did not put their heads down and we fought ‘til the last minute.”
Some things the coach saw that need improvement included playing stronger as a team after giving up a goal and being more physical.
“We can compete with anyone, but after we give up a goal, things seem to fall apart,” he said.
The team resumed its regular season schedule on Tuesday this week, when it took on a talented Star Valley program on the road. The Braves shot out to a 2-0 lead in the opening half, but Dudrey was pleased with how his team battled out on the field and put up shots on the goal that bounced off the post, just missing the goal.
“We had a great start this game,” he said. “We were the better team for the first 30 minutes of the game.”
It was a much different second half for the Wranglers, as they came out a different team than in the first half.
“We did not come out very strong this half,” Dudrey said.
Star Valley put up an early goal, which the coach said took the wind out of his team’s sail for the remainder of the competition. Combined with inclement weather that rolled in, things just didn’t pan out for the Wranglers as they struggled to keep up. The Braves put up another three goals and eventually picked up a 6-0 victory.
According to Dudrey, when his players are working together and on the same page, they play extremely well; they just need to play well on a consistent basis.
“The kids work so hard and when we are clicking on all cylinders, we can compete with anyone,” he said. “We passed the ball well and created many more scoring opportunities this game than we have all year.”
Things he would like to see improvement on include finishing when the opportunity arises.
“We are now getting opportunities to score and we just need to capitalize on them,” he said.
In terms of stopping a scoring push from an opponent, Dudrey says his team needs to start preventing teams from putting up consecutive goals in a short amount of time.
The team had little time to recover from Tuesday’s match, as they hosted Riverton yesterday. The head coach said the game was expected to be a good challenge for his team, as Riverton has a solid lineup of athletes, many of whom are seniors.
Following the game against the Wolverines, the team is slated to play Lander on Tuesday, April 25, at home, which will begin at 5 p.m. After that, the Wranglers only have three more games before playoffs begin in early May.
A full recap on the games against Riverton and Lander will be in next Friday’s Roundup.