Bulldogs sweep Bearcats in home finales
     2013-04-25      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
GERING -- With less than a week left before the Gering and Scottsbluff soccer teams travel to Holdrege for District B-6 postseason action, the Bulldog faithful were treated to a doubleheader sweep Tuesday night at Memorial Stadium.

The Bulldog girls, led by senior Josie Thompson's first-half hat trick and five goals overall, had six players score a goal or assist in romping past Scottsbluff 8-1.

And eight days after the Gering boys were shut out by the Bearcats, the Bulldogs turned in a complete 80-minute effort of attacking Scottsbluff and avenged that loss with a 2-1 victory.

Gering boys 2, Scottsbluff 1
Gering (7-8) had lost to Scottsbluff 3-1 on April 6 in the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals and 3-0 to the Bearcats on April 15 at the Dr. Allan C. Landers Memorial Soccer Complex.

After the loss last week, Gering coach Justin Clark said the Bulldogs played well but lacked a complete-game effort that allowed Scottsbluff to score its three goals, two by senior Randy Wentz.
"That was one of the biggest keys that I put on the board down in the locker room for the guys, that we have to have 11 players for 80 minutes," Clark said. "Whatever 11 are on the field, it doesn't matter, we have to play for 80.

"Another one of our big focuses today was to have no mental lapses, no breakdowns and that kind of stuff, and I think for the most part I think we did a great job of that as well. The kids played great."
On Tuesday, the Bulldogs maintained control most of the time and allowed the Bearcats just three shots on goal, with Wentz scoring in the 69th minute to draw Scottsbluff to within 2-1.

"We know a lot of what they try to do is going to go through him," Clark said of Wentz. "We're just always making sure we're aware of him. We didn't assign anybody to him, our defense knows their responsibility if somebody comes into their zone and they're going to stay with that run.

"It looked like he got a little frustrated early, and that helped. He got that goal late and that could have turned things around, but luckily our guys were able to step it up and get the good victory."
Gering goalkeeper Dylan Wetherington, who allowed Wentz's goal after blocking Eseah Ingram's initial shot, helped the Bulldogs take a 2-0 advantage when he booted a goal kick over the midfield line. Gage Smith gained control of the kick from Wetherington and drilled the ball past Magana in the 59th minute.

"Dylan hits great punts out of the goal, and we preach about running through and making sure you don't ever give up on a ball, and there was one where pressure caused a mistake and we capitalized on it," Clark said.

The Bulldogs gained the lead in the 26th minute of the first half when freshman Brent Barge found sophomore Joey Godinez open on a rebound, and Godinez blew the ball past Magana.

"That just shows a lot of individual skill and desire there to be able to turn, regain your balance play a good ball back in for Joey to be able to finish on."

Gering out-shot Scottsbluff 13-5, with an 8-3 advantage in shots on goal. The Bulldogs had five corner kicks to the Bearcats' three.
Gering (7-8) is off until district play on Monday, while Scottsbluff (8-6) completes the regular season Friday with a home game against North Platte at the Landers Complex.

Gering girls 8, Scottsbluff 1
After Gering and Scottsbluff each had two games lost to cancellation by the recent snow storms, time was of the essence to be ready for next week's district playoffs.

After Thompson scored in the fourth minute off an assist from senior Jennifer Barge and Scottsbluff freshman Kelli Wentz put the only dent in Gering senior goalkeeper Maggie Martin's otherwise perfect day in the 13th minute with the game-tying goal, it was all Bulldogs.

"It was fun," Gering coach Lisa Freeburg said. "Coming into it we've been indoors for two weeks. It was great to see the girls get out and just have excellent touches on the ball.

"I felt like the team as a whole that everybody just played really well. We had some excellent passes, looking for the gaps, good shot selection, good quick movement. It was really great to just see some things we've been working on this season that kind of got put on hold the last couple of weeks."

"I felt like the team as a whole that everybody just played really well. We had some excellent passes, looking for the gaps, good shot selection, good quick movement. It was really great to just see some things we've been working on this season that kind of got put on hold the last couple of weeks."

Gering's eruption of seven unanswered goals began in the 20th minute, while Thompson scored off an assist from senior Nicole Michael. Two minutes later, Thompson found the net again, off an assist by senior Shayla Garetto, to complete her hat trick in the first 22 minutes.

Bulldog junior Laettner Blanco then added Gering's fourth goal in the 33rd minute with an assist by senior Jackie Hayden, giving GHS a 4-1 lead that stood until halftime.

But the Bulldogs started the second half attacking early and often, with Hayden scoring on an unassisted play just two minutes into the half. Five minutes later, Thompson lined up on a corner kick from the left side and bent the ball right into the upper right corner in giving Gering a 6-1 advantage.

Thompson scored her fifth goal when she lined up from the top of the penalty area and drilled the ball past Scottsbluff goalkeeper Livvy Michael in the 53rd minute.
Garetto, who worked busily along the right side of the Bulldogs' attack, was rewarded with an unassisted goal in the 66th minute.

Four minutes later, Freeburg pulled several starters, including Martin from goal after she had stopped four Scottsbluff shots. Gering had a 33-5 shot advantage, 19-5 in shots on goal, and had eight corner kicks to the Bearcats' four.

"They kind of put it to us today," Scottsbluff coach Chad Larson said. "We were glad to get that goal, and I think that might be one of the only ways that some teams might be able to score on them is to go from the outside, because their defense is so hard to break through to even get shots.

"And I think the speed of their team just kills you. They play so fast and they just had us running around all over. They are legit this year."

Freeburg was pleased that six players scored either a goal or assist for the Bulldogs.
"It definitely was a day where the small things we work on every day showed," she said. "We talk about winning the ball, we talk about possessing the ball quickly and those things happened.

"We're always working on making sure that we're the ones that win every single ball out of the air and that we find the gaps. There are things we are continually working on, and I felt like today that they just stepped it up and started to excel."
Gering completes regular-season play Thursday with a visit to Sterling, Colo. Scottsbluff finishes its regular-season schedule with a trip to North Platte on Friday and at Sterling on Saturday.

District match-ups set
The Gering girls are the No. 1 seed in the six-team District B-6 tournament, which starts Monday at Holdrege High School. The Bulldogs will enter district play after receiving a forfeit win after Laramie canceled its doubleheader in Gering on Saturday.
Gering will play on Tuesday against Monday's first-round winner between Scottsbluff and Grand Island Northwest. Kearney Catholic is the No. 2 seed and will await Monday's winner of the Holdrege-Lexington first-round game.

In the boys' bracket, Scottsbluff is the No. 3 seed and plays Kearney Catholic on Monday, with the winner facing No. 2 Northwest on Tuesday. Gering and Holdrege meet in Monday's other first-round clash, with the winner playing No. 1 seed Lexington on Tuesday.
"It's not going to be an easy road," Clark said. "But I think the way our kids are playing right now, I think we have as good a shot as anybody in the district."

The district finals will be next Thursday, with the Class B State Tournament at Creighton University in Omaha starting May 8 for the boys and May 10 for the girls.

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