Scottsbluff soccer teams score weekend victories prior to GNAC Tournament
     2014-04-10      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen
Photo by Sheila Weber/Sheila Weber Photography - Scottsbluff senior Micah Holloway sends a pass during a recent match against Torrington at Landers Field. The Lady Bearcats had a taste of victory last weekend in preparation for the upcoming GNAC this Friday and Saturday. 
No better time for the Scottsbluff girls’ soccer team to pick up two straight wins than right before the Bearcat girls and boys have their Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Tournament at home Friday and Saturday.

The Bearcats, coming off a 7-0 shutout loss at home last Thursday to Laramie, Wyo., scored a 3-2, sudden-death shootout victory over Lexington and earned a 4-2 win over Grand Island Northwest in a pair of matches played Saturday at North Platte’s Dowhower Soccer Complex.

On Tuesday, in making up the teams’ March 22 season opener, Scottsbluff scored twice as many goals that Sterling, Colo. had allowed in the Tigers’ first six games, but Sterling finished out on top 5-2.

The loss left the Bearcats’ season record at 3-5.

Scottsbluff actually out-shot Sterling 23-19 in the game, but only half the Bearcats’ shots were on goal, Scottsbluff girls’ coach Chad Larson said.

“We just didn’t finish in the back of the net today and that’s kind of plaguing us a little bit,” Larson said. “The thing that really hurt us today is we just did not get them on frame. We had our opportunities but just didn’t capitalize.”

Sterling (7-0) held a 3-1 advantage – sophomore Kelli Wentz scored on a penalty kick in the 17th minute – until late in the second half, when Wentz scored in the 45th minute off an assist from Kenzie Sanchez.

“We matched up with them pretty well,” Larson said. “We just had a couple of breakdowns on defense and they got in behind us and cost us a goal.”

In its action Saturday at North Platte, Scottsbluff trailed Lexington 2-1 late in their contest before Bearcat sophomore Hannah Holloway scored the tying goal in the 39th minute of the second half, sending the match into a shootout.

The teams finished the shootout tied 2-2, which forced a sudden-death extra period. Scottsbluff earned the win on Kayla Pierce’s goal.

The Bearcats’ other score in the match came on an unassisted goal by Chloey Reifschneider in the 26th minute of the first half.

Scottsbluff outshot the Minutemaids 19-11 and had an 8-3 advantage in corner kicks. Livvy Michael made four saves in goal.

In their win over Northwest, senior Micah Holloway shook off an injury that kept her out of most of the Bearcats’ win over Lexington. The senior Holloway scored Scottsbluff’s first goal in the eighth minute of the first half, with younger sister Hannah assisting on the scoring play.

Sophomore Kelli Wentz then took leadership of the offense, scoring a hat trick of three unassisted goals to account for the rest of Scottsbluff’s scoring.

Wentz’s first goal came in the 18th minute and gave the Bearcats a 2-0 halftime lead. She then added goals in the fourth and 32nd minutes of the second half. Her final goal came on a free kick.

Scottsbluff finished the match outshooting the Vikings, 25-21. Northwest held a 6-1 advantage in corner kicks.

In goal for the Bearcats, Michael made 12 saves.

“We played really well down at North Platte, so if we can just get back and find some consistency in our play and from our players,” Larson said. “At least we would know what to expect from them.”

The Scottsbluff boys, who suffered a 4-0 setback Thursday at Laramie, opened their action Saturday with a heartbreaking, 1-0 shootout loss to Lexington.

But the Bearcats bounced back in their second contest with a 5-2 win over Northwest.

Northwest scored two quick goals on Scottsbluff before the Bearcats took charge by scoring five unanswered goals. Junior Anthony Parra led the offensive charge with a hat trick, with all three goals scored in the second half.

Edwin Delgado also scored a goal in the match for Scottsbluff. The Bearcats’ other goal came on an own goal by the Vikings.

Scottsbluff enters the GNAC Tournament with a 4-3 record.

GNAC Tourney at Landers Complex

The Dr. Allan C. Landers Memorial Soccer Complex in northeast Scottsbluff will play host to the 2014 GNAC Tournament. For soccer, Gering steps into the eight-school GNAC in place of McCook, which does not field soccer teams.

All teams except the Scottsbluff boys had matches Tuesday, so the records posted reflect the teams’ marks heading into this week. Eight matches will comprise the first round of play on Friday, with semifinals starting Saturday morning and finals Saturday afternoon.

In the girls’ bracket, with all four of Friday’s matches starting at 3 p.m., Kearney (3-1) is the No. 1 seed and faces No. 8 seed Lexington (1-5) on Field 1, the easternmost field. The other fields are numbered by moving westward.

On Field 3, No. 4 seed Norfolk (3-1) takes on Hastings (4-2). Columbus (5-0) is the No. 3 seed and plays No. 6 Scottsbluff on Field 4, while No. 2 North Platte (2-2) takes on No. 7 Gering (3-4) on Field 2.

Saturday’s semifinal games all start at 10 a.m., with the Kearney-Lexington and Hastings-Norfolk winners on Field 1, and those games’ losers on Field 3. The Columbus-Scottsbluff and North Platte-Gering winners square off on Field 2, with the respective losers playing on Field 4.

Final-round girls’ action will be at 2 p.m. The championship game will be on Field 1, the third-place match on Field 2, the fifth-place contest on Field 3 and the seventh-place game on Field 4.

In the boys’ bracket, all four first-round matches will begin at about 5 p.m. following the girls’ contests. Kearney (3-1) is the No. 1 seed and takes on No. 8 seed Gering (4-3) on Field 1 and No. 4 seed Norfolk (2-4) plays Columbus (2-3) on Field 3.

In the bottom half of the bracket, No. 3 seed Hastings (4-2) plays no. 6 North Platte (2-2) on Field 4, and No. 2 Lexington and No. 7 Scottsbluff meet on Field 2.

Saturday’s semifinal game all start at about noon, with the Kearney-Gering and Norfolk-Columbus winners meeting on Field 1, and those games’ losers will meet on Field 3. The Hastings-North Platte winners will play on Field 2, and the respective losers will meet on Field 4.

Final-round boys’ action is scheduled for a 4 p.m. start, following the girls’ finales. The championship match will be on Field 1, the third-place game will be on Field 2, the fifth-place contest will take place on Field 3 and the seventh-place match will be on Field 4.

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