Bearcats sweep Bulldogs on separate fields
     2014-04-24      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Sheila Weber/Sheila Weber Photography - Gering senior Kelsea Prieels (No. 10) defends against a kick from Bearcat sophomore Katrina Fulk (No. 9) with teammate junior Courtney Murrillo eying the play at Monday’s match up in Gering. The Lady Bearcats were the victors, defeating the Lady Bulldogs 3-2 in a nailbiting final play.  
After having lost their final games in the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference soccer tournament on April 12 and getting swept in April 15 against a pair of Wyoming foes, both the Scottsbluff boys and girls were in need of a boost with the final two weeks of regular-season play upon them.

The Bearcat boys, shut out in both their GNAC fifth-place game and at Cheyenne Central, won a pair of games Saturday at Grand Island and continued their new-found success Monday with their 4-1 comeback victory over Gering at the Dr. Allan C. Landers Memorial Soccer Complex in northeast Scottsbluff.

At Gering’s Memorial Field, the Scottsbluff and Gering girls battled to a 1-all deadlock through regulation before the Bulldogs got a quick lead in overtime off a penalty kick.

But the Bearcats bounced back with a game-tying goal and then scored the game-winner in the second extra period for a 3-2 victory.

Bearcat boys win 3rd straight

Scottsbluff’s boys put that 1-0 overtime loss to Green River behind them with a pair of three-goal victories on Saturday, first shutting out Grand Island Central Catholic 3-0 and then taking a 3-2 win over Norfolk Catholic/Nebraska Lutheran.

After the Bearcats (8-6) gave up the first goal in Monday’s game, they charged back with three quick goals before halftime and finished with a three-goal victory over Gering (9-6).

“I thought it took us a little while to wake up, but once we did and started playing our game, they pressed and pressed hard, and we started to use that to our advantage a little bit,” Bearcat boys’ coach Nate Rock said.

“When they started coming up field we started playing a little more direct, which is what you have to do against a pressing team, and we were able to get by them a couple times.”

Gering scored first when junior Marcelino Ramos scored 19 minutes into the first half off an assist from senior Travis Mundell.

But the Bulldogs’ lead was short-lived, when six minutes later Scottsbluff began a three-goal scoring spree in four minutes.

In the 26th minute, Bulldog senior Jayson Marks — an exchange student from Denmark — scored on a header to equalize the score at 1. Barely a minute later, Scottsbluff took the lead on sophomore Eseah Ingram’s drilling shot.

And in the 30th minute, sophomore Edwin Delgado popped in a close-range shot past Gering senior goalkeeper Brandon Bernhardt, giving the Bearcats a 3-1 lead they would sustain until halftime.

Scottsbluff controlled most of the second-half action, rarely letting the Bulldogs get any decent scoring chances in the Bearcat defense zone.

In the 28th minute of the second half, Scottsbluff senior Anthony Parra closed out the scoring, and any Bulldog hopes of a comeback, when he took control of the ball and zinged a shot past Bernhardt.

Scottsbluff held an 18-13 edge in shots taken, including 10-9 on goal, and the Bearcats had seven corner kicks to Gering’s six. Bernhardt stopped eight Scottsbluff shots on goal, while junior Matt Mickey saved eight Bulldog shots.

“And our set pieces were pretty good today, and that’s what got us back into the game initially,” Rock said. “A long throw and then a corner kick, we were able to put two of those away.”

In Saturday’s first game against Central Catholic, Scottsbluff scored in the 33rd minute of the first half when Parra scored on an assist from Ingram. The one-goal lead held up through halftime.

The Bearcats tacked on two more goals in the second half, the first by sophomore Jackson Thomas on an unassisted play. Junior Bruno Flores then scored off a feed from sophomore Patrick Madden in closing out Scottsbluff’s scoring in the shutout victory.

The Bearcats had 14 shots on goal and eight corner kicks. Mickey needed just one save in goal.
Against Nebraska Lutheran, Delgado put Scottsbluff on the board with a goal off an assist from Tristan Donelson in the 15th minute.

After Lutheran tied the match at 1-all, Parra knocked in back-to-back goals in the second half in helping the Bearcats pull away.

Scottsbluff finished the match with nine shots on goal and nine corner kicks. Mickey had nine saves in facing 10 shots on goal.

“Sometimes it’s like floodgates,” Rock said of a team’s goal scoring. “We get six in two over the weekend and four on the board today, and the big thing I think was important today was having four different goal scorers.

“We just wanted to play our game,” Rock added. “There are times where we start to force it and bad things happen. They were great wins, but we’re just taking them one game at a time.”

Bearcat girls survive injuries, rally to top Bulldogs in overtime

The Scottsbluff girls were coming off, like the Bearcat boys, a shutout loss in the GNAC fifth-place game to Norfolk, after they had shut out Gering 3-0 in the consolation semifinals the morning of April 12.

After losing 10-0 last Tuesday to Cheyenne Central, Scottsbluff girls’ coach Chad Larson said the Bearcats needed a gut check and to overcome the intimidation the visiting Indians had brought before them.

“You knew they were going to come out and be aggressive, and they were,” Larson said of the Bulldogs. “So give them credit.”

With their win over the Bulldogs from the GNAC Tournament still fresh in their minds, the Bearcats stayed strong on defense despite being outshot by Gering 28-21, with the Bulldogs holding an 18-13 advantage in shots on goal. Scottsbluff won the corner kick battle, 5-2.

Both goalkeepers put up strong fortresses, especially through regulation. Bearcats sophomore Livvy Michael had 16 saves to Gering sophomore McKenna Copsey’s 10 stops.

But Scottsbluff (4-8) has the hat-trick mistress in sophomore Kelli Wentz, who recorded her fifth three-goal game of the season. Wentz’s first goal came on an unassisted drive and shot in the seventh minute in giving the Bearcats the early lead.

But Gering (5-8) came back to equalize the score seven minutes later, when sophomore Noemi Amaro caromed in a corner kick off the foot of senior Kelsea Prieels. And the 1-all deadlock remained for the final 46 minutes of regulation to force overtime.

In the teams’ GNAC consolation semifinal game, Scottsbluff picked up a key goal off a penalty kick. Gering earned such a chance after the Bearcat defenders were called for a handball in the penalty area off sophomore Hadley Kirk’s shot.

Prieels converted the penalty kick, giving the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead with 2:59 left in the first overtime.

But just 55 seconds later, Wentz took a cross feed on the left side from senior Mariah DeLos Santos. Wentz’s initial shot bounced straight down off the crossbar, but Wentz closed past Copsey to knock in the OT equalizer with 2:04 remaining.

Just about 1:20 into the second overtime, Wentz took a feed near midfield and drove toward the left corner of the penalty area, where she rocketed a shot past Copsey in giving the Bearcats the 3-2 lead with 8:34 remaining in the extra time.

“That was crazy,” Larson said. “One it’s tough because I’ve been on the other end before, and as good as it is to win it’s twice as bad to lose, and they played a whale of a game. They out-shot us, so give them credit.”

Another key save with just under four minutes by Michael remaining kept Scottsbluff ahead by a goal, and that was the way the game ended.

“I’ve said this over and over, Livvy keeps us in the game quite a bit.” Larson said. “There are a lot of saves that I wouldn’t expect most female keepers to make, but she does and that kind of boosts our defense and gets us going.”

Larson said the Bearcats came from their loss to Central after being intimidated by the Indians with a need for more consistency in competing.

“I think the girls would agree with this, they just did not compete,” Larson said. “I think, for the lack of a better word, they were just intimidated. If we’re going to turn this program around, we can’t be intimidated.

“We just want to come out and be consistent. If we can compete, we can have a chance to win. I think that was definitely the low point of the season, and we’re a better team than that. And they had to sit on that for most of a week now.”

Both schools have busy weeks as they prepare for their Twin Cities rematches on Monday, when the girls will play at the Landers Complex starting at 5 p.m. and the boys will square off at Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m.

Before then, the Bearcat girls had a Tuesday home match against Newcastle, Wyo., and both teams play Torrington on Saturday: the boys at home and the girls in Wyoming, with varsity action starting at noon at both sites.

“We’ll savor this one for a little bit, because I know we will see them again in a week,” Larson said.

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