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Big Horns soccer teams celebrate Senior Day

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Sophomore Astrid McGuire dribbles past a Rangers defender. PHOTO BY DAN KELLY

Boys, girls fall 2-1 to the Rangers

By Dan Kelly EBS Contributor

BIG SKY – Under rain-laden clouds, the Lone Peak Big Horns soccer teams hosted the Livingston Park High School Rangers at their new field on Thursday, Oct. 7 for Senior Day. Both games were action-packed and full of excitement, with the Rangers beating the Big Horns in both games by a score of 2-1.

Each team adjusted their strategy to the rainy conditions in what quickly evolved into a direct and attacking style of play seen from both sides. The Lady Big Horns struck first against the Lady Rangers at 19 minutes into the game, scoring off a corner kick driven into the back of the net to take the lead. Lone Peak and Livingston then commenced a far-ranging series of attacks and counter-attacks that ultimately were fruitless. As the half came to a close, Lone Peak led 1-0.

Senior Day recognized the contributions of each Lady Big Horn senior player to the team and the program. Coaches elaborated on the talents and accolades of each senior player with respect to the team’s and their own improvement while adding some humorous anecdotes. Each player was recognized with their family at midfield as fans clapped and cheered to congratulate the departing seniors.

Four Lady Big Horn seniors were recognized during a ceremony at half-time. PHOTO BY DAN KELLY

Sophia Cone, Carly Wilson, Campbell Johnson and Tristen Clack are this year’s Lady Big Horn seniors. Three of the most common words used to describe them in statements prepared by the coaches and read by LPHS Athletic Director John Hannahs were “leadership, composure and skills.”

Lady Big Horns Head Coach Jaci Sand described Cone as a “threatening soccer player with fast, smooth and skilled footwork” and Wilson as a “complete offensive and defensive player.” Johnson was highlighted as a player “ready to cut and shoot anywhere on the field” and Clack was celebrated for her “calm composure, always sure of what needs to be done.”

“I’m grateful to have coached these four young ladies who add so much strength to the soccer sisterhood” Sand wrote in her statement.

As the battle continued between the Lady Big Horns and Rangers, Livingston broke through the Lone Peak defense, scoring off a corner kick in the 65th minute. This was soon followed by a second-chance goal in the 68th minute, giving them a lead they would not relinquish. The Lady Big Horns fought hard, but when the final whistle blew, Livingston had defeated Lone Peak 2-1.

Seniors Kyan Smit and Tony Brester stand on the field with their families during Senior Day ceremonies. PHOTO BY DAN KELLY

Senior Day started similarly for the boys, with a quick Big Horn goal in the 9th minute that set the tone for the match. Leading 1-0, Lone Peak went head-to-head with Livingston for the remainder of the first half, but scoring opportunities were elusive.

Big Horn Seniors Tony Brester and Kyan Smit were also lauded at halftime for their leadership roles, hard work and contributions to camaraderie. Head Coach Tony Coppola and Assistant Coach Jeremy Harder thanked Brester for his dedication to the program, his leadership and his can-do attitude. “Simply put, Tony is a leader,” Coppola wrote in his statement. Smit was recognized for his commanding presence on the field and his “ability to keep the team focused with a balance of grace and fervor,” Coppola wrote. As the players returned to the sidelines for the second half, the rain had finally subsided and the skies began to clear.

Brester and Smit defend against an air attack by the Rangers. PHOTO BY DAN KELLY

The game became a bit chippy in the second half, with several hard fouls by each team raising the intensity to a fever pitch. The Rangers notched an equalizing goal in the 68th minute when a free-kick was crossed into the box and hammered home by a Livingston player. The Rangers scored again six minutes later, cementing a lead they would hold for the rest of the game. The Rangers carried the day by a final score of 2-1 over the Big Horns.

Despite dropping both games to Livingston, these matches showed a marked improvement over the last time the Big Horns played the Rangers, a testament to the growth and hard work by players and coaches over the course of the season. As the Big Horn teams continue to develop and improve, the contributions of their outgoing seniors will be sorely missed. 

The girls’ record for the season stands at 2-9 and the boys’ record is 4-6-1. Lone Peak plays their final regular season games on Saturday, Oct. 9 at home against the Lockwood Lions for their homecoming matchups. 

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