The Laramie High girls soccer team gave top-ranked Thunder Basin all it could handle in the first 53 minutes Friday evening at Deti Stadium.
The score and shot tallies looked one-sided at the end. The Lady Bolts won 4-1 and outshoot the Lady Plainsmen 25-6, 14-1 on goal.
But most of the run of play, especially early in the contest, was up and down the field for both teams. Thunder Basin continued to shoot early and often, some of which Laramie senior goalkeeper Madeline Bershinsky had to deny with big saves. She also was the beneficiary of a little luck when a penalty kick from Thunder Basin junior Alex Michael clanged off the crossbar in the ninth minute.
“That was very comforting, knowing we had a chance to get the ball out of our box, which we did,” said Bershinsky, who was one of four classmates who celebrated Senior Night with their families before the game. The other seniors were Macie Carlson, Kylee Cox and DaiJane Giron.
Laramie (5-4-1 overall, 5-4-1 Class 4A East Conference) had a swarming defense that thwarted the high-powered Lady Bolts offense for the first 30 minutes. But Thunder Basin kept the pressure consistent and it paid off in the 31 minute when sophomore Kylie Hayes put the ball in net after it deflected from an initial shot from freshman Cena Carlson.
The Lady Plainsmen had a penalty kick of their own six minutes later after freshman Mckenna Barham was taken out in the box by Thunder Basin junior keeper Kendra Michael. Giron calmly lined up behind the ball and struck it mid-high and to the right of Kendra Michael.
“That’s one of those things where you have to be there for your team, focus, lock in and not let nerves take over,” Giron said. “We were down a goal, so I had to capitalize to tie the game.
“It felt good when I hit it. So I kind of knew it was going to go in after that.”
Laramie kept the game tied at 1-1 until the break and for 12 minutes afterwards before Thunder Basin (11-0, 9-0) took the lead again in the 53rd on a shot low and right from sophomore Eagan Clark on an assist from Carlson. Clark scored again in the 61st from left of the box to the near post after a pass from sophomore Brooke Dunham for the two-goal difference at 3-1.
The Lady Bolts added a late, unassisted goal from Alex Michael in the 78th when she blasted a shot just under the crossbar from a little more than 35 yards out.
“It was better than the first round, so I’m pleased with that,” Laramie coach Justine Tydings said. “I still think we have a higher level that we can play at and be able to compete with (Thunder Basin). Toward the end of the game, they just closed it out when there was 20 minutes when we could’ve done better.”
The first time the teams met was a 5-1 Laramie loss April 10 in Gillette.
Bershinsky finished with nine saves. Thunder Basin switched keepers at halftime, going with freshman Morgan Shirley in the second half. Shirley and Kendra Michael did not have to make a save in the game.