The Pinedale girls’ soccer team battled the elements Friday just to get to Powell, as winter storms wreaked havoc on the southern portion of the state.
But that was nothing compared to the storm that awaited them in the form of Powell High School’s Kayla Kolpitcke. Shaking off chilly temps and blustery conditions, the junior co-captain recorded her first career hat trick against the Lady Wranglers. She led the Lady Panthers to a 3-1 win in their home and conference opener.
“We were a little sloppy; that wind and the cold definitely had an impact on the game,” said PHS head coach Jack Haire. “I feel like we should have been up 8-0, but we got the win, so I’m grateful for that. But we have a lot of work to do before we play Cody Thursday.”
The Lady Panthers were ranked No. 5 in the state heading into the contest, and controlled the action for much of the first half. Kolpitcke gave Powell an early lead, finding the back of the net with just three minutes gone in the game to make it 1-0. She would score once more in the first half, converting a penalty kick after teammate Michele Wagner was stepped on while driving in the box. That gave the Lady Panthers a 2-0 lead at the break.
“Kayla [Kolpitcke] was really aggressive. She came out ready to play,” Haire said.
Pinedale regrouped in the second half, making a goal to cut the lead in half, 2-1. The Lady Panthers answered, however, as Kolpitcke scored the game’s final goal to secure the 3-1 win.
“That was Kayla’s first hat trick, so that was exciting,” said PHS head coach Jack Haire. “She had a good game; she’s quite an athlete.”
Powell got another stellar defensive performance out of its starting five: Jalie Timmons, Jaighden Rayment, Sadie Wenzel, Sidney Karst and Payton Asher played lock-down defense.
“Our defense is stout, that group is really playing well together,” Haire said. “Overall, we played well as a team; we had a lot of shots on goal [and] we spent a lot of time on their end of the field.”
Keeper Mattie Larsen had a quiet game in net, allowing just one goal in the win.
“I talked to her [Larsen] after the game, and she said she wished she could have got that one goal back,” Haire said. “She did fine. She’s learning the game; she’s learning the pace of it.”
Haire also appreciated his team’s willingness to play hard all the way through, despite the miserable conditions.
“That weather was brutal,” he said. “It was hard, some of the girls were having trouble breathing — the cold air was hurting their lungs. But overall, I’m pretty grateful for how our team played.”
Thursday will be another big test for the Lady Panthers, as they welcome in defending 3A state champion Cody to Panther Stadium. The Fillies are off to another quick start, compiling a 5-1 record that included an 11-0 stomping of Pinedale on Saturday. Cody earned a season sweep against Powell last season, but not without a fight; the first meeting between the two went to overtime, with both games won by identical 2-1 scores.
“What it comes down to in this game is we can’t be sloppy,” Haire said. “Defensively or offensively, we have to be on our game. We just need to shut them down; I’d be happy with a 0-0 game if it comes to that.”
The game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start at Panther Stadium.