Lady Wolves win State Consolation Championship

The Green River High School Girls Soccer team started the season as a young group of players with a dream of making it to State and bringing home a trophy. They ended the season last weekend at the State tournament with a trophy in hand after winning the Consolation Championship. 

The Lady Wolves' State experience started on Thursday with a game against the Douglas Lady Tigers, a team that "is traditionally one of the top two teams in the east," according to Green River Heach Coach Matthew Robles. 

As excited as the Lady Wolves were to get to that level of competition, they were caught off guard with the intensity and pace of the game, and they gave up four goals to Douglas in the first half. While they gathered themselves and played better the second half, the Lady Wolves still gave up another two goals, ultimately losing the game 6-0. 

"We looked like a very young team playing in our first State tournament game, which we were," Coach Robles said. 

He pointed out that almost all of the starters and players on Green River's varsity team this year are sophomores and freshmen, many of whom don't have much prior experience, and they were going against a strong team of juniors and seniors who have been playing for years. 

Losing to Douglas put Green River out of contention for a State title and sent them to the consolation bracket, so their next game was against Buffalo on Saturday morning. 

"It was an elimination game, so everybody was kind of on-edge and wanting to make sure their season didn't end, so we knew that was going to be a very intense game for us," Robles said. 

While the game was tough and physical, the Lady Wolves rose to the challenge. They came out strong, with Brynlee Cordova scoring their first goal about 24 minutes in, and Isabel Vasco scoring again before the half to put them up 2-0. In the second half they continued to keep Buffalo from scoring, and Vasco scored two more goals to achieve a hat trick. Green River ended the game with a 4-0 victory. 

"We played much more composed, we were moving the ball around," Coach Robles said. "We looked like the team we had been the previous few weeks." 

The victory against Buffalo put the Lady Wolves into the Consolation Championship game, where they found themselves going up against the Worland Lady Warriors. Having faced and lost to Worland in one of the first games of this season, the Lady Wolves were prepared for a tough competition. 

Green River got off to a strong start, with Vasco scoring the first goal within the first five minutes. After that, however, Worland started to push ahead, scoring two goals fairly early. Coach Robles noted that the first time they played Worland, the team struggled to stay motivated and fight back after the Lady Warriors started scoring. This time, however, the Lady Wolves pushed ahead, scoring two more goals before the half, with another goal from Vasco and one from Tehya Johnson. 

"It just showed how much we had matured through the year," Robles said. 

With the score 3-2 at half, Robles and the coaches encouraged the girls to play as if the score was 0-0 and they needed to win the second half to win the game.

"And the girls stepped up," Robles added. 

Green River continued to apply pressure and hold their opponents back, which Robles believes took Worland by surprise since they are used to being the controlling team. About 15 minutes into the second half, Johnson scored another goal. And with about 15 minutes left in the game, Vasco scored yet again, giving her another hat trick and a total of 70 goals this season. After her impressive season, Vasco was awarded All-Conference and All-State honors. 

With a final score of 5-2 against Worland, the Lady Wolves took home the win and the Consolation Championship trophy. 

"It was a really great accomplishment for us," Coach Robles said. 

The win was an important achievement for the GRHS Girls Soccer program, since the Lady Wolves hadn't been to state in seven years and hadn't achieved a victory at state for even longer. To bring home the Consolation Championship win during their first trip back to State in almost a decade was something the coaches were excited about and grateful for. 

It was also an especially rewarding achievement considering how young and inexperienced the team was this year and looking at where they started to where they ended. 

"I just kept harping on getting better every day, and the girls bought into that and they pushed really hard every day, which allowed us to get to the place we were," Coach Robles said. 

The team will need to keep that mentality next year, when they move back up into the 4A classification. While this will be new territory for the majority of the team members, Robles is thankful for players that give 100% every day, and he is confident in their ability.

"If we play like we have and we keep building and growing, I think the sky is really the limit for our season," he said.

 

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