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Panther soccer team splits weekend tourney, 2-2

Powell High School senior Brain Crawford (black No. 5) dribbles the ball up the field during a game against Worland/Riverton JV on Friday during the Pinnacle Challengers Cup. In the second half, Crawford scored what would be the decisive goal in the Panthers’ 2-1 victory. Powell High School senior Brain Crawford (black No. 5) dribbles the ball up the field during a game against Worland/Riverton JV on Friday during the Pinnacle Challengers Cup. In the second half, Crawford scored what would be the decisive goal in the Panthers’ 2-1 victory. Tribune photo by Breanne Thiel

Powell High School’s boys soccer team picked up a couple of wins and a couple losses at a Friday-Saturday tournament in Worland.

Playing a total of four games at the Pinnacle Challengers Cup, Powell lost to Evanston, then beat the Worland/Riverton JV and Pinedale before falling to Star Valley.

Evanston 3, Powell 0

The Panthers drew Class 4A Evanston in their first game of the cup on Friday.

“We did well against them,” said PHS head coach Jeff Dent. “Evanston was a pretty strong team; it was tough.”

Powell took a total of six shots in the game, all but one outside the 18-yard line

“We were just having an issue of getting [shots] in the net; we were missing them by about a foot,” said coach Dent.

Owen Dent had four shots and three corner kicks while Brian Crawford and Brekyn Herd each had one shot.

Goalkeeper John Stutzman had 13 saves.

“The boys played strong, they played through and we thought we did a good job there,” said coach Dent.

Powell 2, Riverton/Worland JV 1

The next game for the Panthers was against a combined Worland/Riverton JV team, which also took place on Friday.

Powell won 2-1 behind one goal from Jace Smith in the first half and another from Crawford in the second. Crawford’s goal was assisted by Jeremey Herd.

“In that game, we were shooting like crazy,” said coach Dent.

Powell had 14 shots from a half dozen players.

Owen Dent had seven shots and four corner kicks. Crawford had two shots, Marshall Wittick, Brekyn Herd, Cameron Wentz, Jace Smith and
Ernie Acevedo all had one shot each. Smith and Jacob Herd also took corner kicks.

“Again we weren’t getting [shots] in the net, so we definitely learned a weak point there,” said coach Dent.

In the goal, Stutzman had four saves and Dylan Lowery had two.

“Our team was playing their positions well in both games and so that was good to see,” coach Dent said of Friday’s action.

Powell 1, Pinedale 0

On Saturday, Powell started the day with a game against Pinedale.

“Again, we couldn’t get [the ball] in the net and so we were very frustrated,” said coach Dent.

Powell had 20 shots on goal. Owen Dent, who scored Powell’s lone goal, took seven shots and three corner kicks.

Brekyn Herd had five shots, Wentz and Crawford each booted two and Jeremy Herd and Kyler Muffet each had one shot. Jeremy Herd and Wentz also each had a corner kick.

In front of the net, Stutzman had two saves and Lowery had four.

Star Valley 7, Powell 0

The win over Pinedale’s Wranglers put Powell against Star Valley.

“They are very good team, got good passes and were able to get through our defense,” coach Dent said of the Braves.

Powell lost 7-0, but “I was very proud of the way our boys played,” said coach Dent, describing it as “a solid game where both teams played hard and was fun to watch.”

The Panthers got only two shots on the goal — one by Crawford and one by Acevedo.

Lowery had 12 saves and Gabe Katz had four.

“Both teams played very well; it was impressive to watch our boys against their boys. It was a good measuring stick,” said coach Dent.

The Braves are a team the Panthers will see again. Their first scheduled contest, earlier in the season, was canceled due to a road closure in the Snake River Canyon.

“It was good to see them finally,” said coach Dent.

On Saturday, all the coaches decided to change up the lineup.

“... It was definitely better for our defense, made it stronger and changed some of our corner kick people,” said coach Dent.

The coaches also moved some younger players into new roles.

“We’re seeing depth all the way across the team,” he said.

With the tweaks to the lineup, “we thought we did better as a team,” coach Dent said. “The boys were unused to the positions, but they really stepped up.”

Overall for the weekend’s games, coach Dent said he saw improvements and “our boys are sticking to the philosophy still, which that tells me I got another step to make: I’ve got to work on their getting the ball in the net when they shoot it. So that’s going to be our focus coming up to the next coming games.”

The Panther soccer team has this week off from competition with the coming of Easter break. After the break, Powell will have two conference games.

They’ll host Cody on Thursday, April 20 at 5 p.m. and travel to Worland on Saturday, April 22 to play at 2 p.m.

“Those are important ones,” said Dent.

Powell, Cody and Worland make up the 3A northwest quadrant. Heading into the Pinnacle Challengers Cup, Cody was tied for the No. 1 ranking in the state and Worland was ranked No. 3.

“We got a lot of freshmen and sophomores stepping into positions, taking some shots, making a significant difference in the game — which is very encouraging to everybody,” said coach Dent.

On the roster of 35 players for both JV and varsity, 13 are freshmen and sophomores.

Results from the Lady Panthers’ weekend will follow in Thursday’s Tribune.

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