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Laramie Soccer Seeks More Success At State Tournament

LHS Soccer head coaches Whisenant-Benford 2017
David Settle, Townsquare Media

The quest to be kings and queens of 4A soccer is here again for both Laramie High School soccer teams at the 2017 Wyoming Soccer State Championships.

The Laramie Lady Plainsmen and Laramie Plainsmen are looking to defend their titles from 2016. Their three-day journey begins Thursday at the Big Horn Equestrian Center south of Sheridan.

Laramie Lady Plainsmen

The Lady Plainsmen will play the West Regional champion Rock Springs Tigers in the first round Thursday at 2:30 p.m. This will be the first meeting between these two squads this season.

Laramie head coach Kim Whisenant said I think I like the way things set-up for us.

“Like I tell the kids, we concentrate on the first game, and what they’re all about, and we don’t look past that. Our theme this week is team, and so I’m hoping that we can come together and look at what the important piece is.”

Senior Paige Trent is heading into her final state tournament. She said it’s exciting to think about what they could accomplish and being part of this team.

“Especially to play with these girls. It’s been a really good team for four years. We’re just really ready to play together and kind of, you know, make it our last effort and put it all out there.”

Laramie enters state with an 11-5 record this season. They are seeking the fifth girl’s state soccer title in school history.

2016 Title Game Recap

Laramie Plainsmen

The Plainsmen open the state tournament with a match-up against the Green River Wolves. It’s set for a 4:30 p.m. start from the BHEC. This will be the first meeting against Green River since the 2014 semifinals. LHS beat the Wolves on the way to a state championship.

Laramie head coach Dan Benford knows it’s going to be a difficult match.

“Watching the scores over there, we know that Green River can play some soccer, and that we know they’re going to be a tough team. Not having really a read on what they do or having played ‘em in a few years now, it’s going to be kind of tough. We’re definitely going to have to spend some time in the first half feeling it out. We just hope that we can figure it out quick enough that we’re able to adjust and go after them the way we need to.”

Senior Blake Moore leads the Plainsmen with 21 goals and six assists this season. He was part of last year’s state championship team and understands what it takes to get to the top.

“It’s a different mindset in playoff soccer. We just have to stay focused and do what we know how, and just finish; put teams away early.”

The Plainsmen have a 12-3-1 record as they start play at the state tournament. They are vying for their sixth title in the last 10 seasons. Laramie is going after their seventh overall boys’ soccer state championship in school history.

2016 State Title Match Recap

Weather

Mother Nature may play a role in what happens at state soccer in 2017. Rain is in the forecast for Thursday and Friday, while some snow showers during the night between the days. Saturday is expected to be the best day with sunshine.

Both Laramie coaches realize there’s nothing they can do about the weather.

Benford said, “We’ve practiced in pretty much every kind of weather that we could possibly go to… You just kind of hope that that kind of adversity, and what you have to learn to do with the ball prepares you for what we’re about to see.”

Whisenant’s take was, “We just have to be ready for whatever comes at us. I don’t know if they’ll be a lot of wind with it, so obviously preparing in goal. Just getting behind it, get bodies behind the ball if it skips.”

So far, through early Thursday, it’s been just overcast with chilly conditions and no rain. Most fans, coaches and players are crossing their fingers for that to continue just south of Sheridan.

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