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Worland finishes fourth at 3A State tournament

WORLAND - Going 1-2 at the 3A State girls soccer tournament, on May 16-18 at Jackson Hole High School, was not how the Worland Lady Warriors were expecting to end their season but sometimes soccer gods are unforgiving.

The Lady Warriors got the state tournament started off with a 1-0 win over Douglas in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals they faced the two-time, and eventually three-time, defending state champion Cody Fillies.

Worland gave Cody their toughest match of the entire tournament but in the end, the Fillies won 1-0, using a penalty kick in the second half to score the match's only goal.

"I felt we were very calm and like it was our game, which is why it's so frustrating to lose on a PK," said WHS girls soccer coach Danielle Warren about the loss to Cody.

The loss to the Fillies sent the Lady Warriors to the third-place match where they were pitted against the Riverton Lady Wolverines. Worland and Riverton split the regular-season series with Riverton beating Worland, 1-0, on April 29 in Riverton and Worland beating Riverton, 1-0, on March 30 in Worland.

Just as the previous two matches were evenly matched, the third-place match was no different. Riverton struck first going up 1-0 in the first half but not long after that Lady Warrior Tymberlynn Crippen struck in the equalizing goal.

Tied 1-1 through a majority of the second half, Riverton executed on a corner set piece that put them up 2-1. While Worland had their chances to knot things up at 2-all, they could not find the back of the net as Riverton went on to win 2-1.

Adding to the frustration of the loss for the Lady Warriors was how many breakaways they had but could not finish off with a goal.

"Talking to the team after [loss to Riverton] I was telling them when we're in front of the net and it's one-verus-one we've got to put the ball in the back of the net. That's something we're going to have to work on during the summer.

"You can teach what you're supposed to do but that composure and confidence in front of the net is hard to do. That's something that takes repetition to get down," said Warren. "I also need to own it as a coach, maybe we didn't work hard enough on finishing in front of the goal. That's something going forward where we're finishing those opportunities more often than not."

Even in their win against Douglas, Warren noticed how many one-versus-one chances they missed out on.

"I say it was similar to the Riverton game. Defensively we were there but we were in front of the goal what felt like a 100 times and couldn't capitalize. Douglas does have an excellent keeper but it's an area we still need to find a way to capitalize on," said Warren about the Douglas match.

Four Lady Warriors were named to this year's All-State team Karla Gaytan (All-State in 2018), Juli Warren, Kendall Wright (All-State in 2018) and BreAnna Parra (All-State in 2017).

During any state tournament, you can get a quick idea of how close certain teams are, especially when a team is losing or has lost. The snide remarks or outright yelling between teammates tends to increase with every loss.

That was not the case with the Lady Warriors. After the loss to Cody, the seniors made sure to pick up their teammates and remind them that there's still one match left. And when they lost to Riverton, the Lady Warriors were still positive and were encouraging one another.

"I love their drive and positivity," said Warren about her team. "When we lost to Cody, Karla talked to the team about being so proud of them and told them to look at what Worland is going to do next year. That was very cool and after that Juli was telling the team everything was fine because we still have a third-place game to try and win. That positive [attitude] from the seniors was huge and the underclassman seeing that only helps your program keep building and moving forward."

Warren credits her seniors, Elisa Ayungua, Karla Gaytan, Kyra Klinghagen, Kendall Wright and Juli Warren, for creating the encouraging culture.

"Their positive attitudes are a big part of who they are. I enjoy coaching a team that is classy and win or lose, they work hard and hold their heads high," said Warren. "That's one of my favorite things about this group, but the cool thing is that they've set the precedent for the next four years."

Added Warren, "That was one thing the Pinedale coach told me, she said 'Even though you guys beat us every time, my girls love you which says a lot about your program and a lot about your team.' I took that as a compliment because no matter if we're winning or we're losing our players are good sports. I was really impressed that someone else would know that about my team."

Saying goodbye to this year's seniors was tough for Warren but the team returning next year will be chock-full of talent. Parra, Talon Andersen and Nayeli Garay will be the Lady Warriors senior class next year.

Crippen, a junior next season, played the best she has all season at state and could certainly join Parra as an All-State selection in 2020. "She played out of her mind and really all tournament, she's a competitor," said Warren about Crippen.

Darla Hernandez, Aijah Montoya, Braelyn Robertson, Kylie Warren and Logan Yule will be among the other key returning starters for next season.

Then there's the injured freshmen trio Chauntea Mocko, Morgan Wagner and Carley Yule who will get their chance to run on the pitch. Mocko was a starter this season for Worland before going down with an injury toward the end of the season. Wagner and Yule missed the season because of injuries.

"Their excitement is my excitement. You bring the motivation as the coach but at the same time, the players have to want it too. You could see [vs. Cody] that they really wanted it and every single one of them wanted to beat Cody. You could feel that desire and drive of 'let me at it.'

"That's one of the reasons I enjoyed state so much. It didn't go as we wanted it to but every player out there accepted their job and gave it their all. That kind of effort is what you need at a state tournament and now they realize what it's going to take," said Warren.

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