One day after getting kicked out of practice, the Kelly Walsh girls soccer team took their frustrations out on rival Natrona.
The Trojans got two goals and an assist from sophomore Nicole Klungness and sophomore Ashley Sanchez, making her first start of the season between the pipes, posted a clean sheet to help Kelly Walsh to a 5-0 Casper Cup shutout at Cheney Alumni Field last Wednesday.
“I thought the girls had a great response (to getting kicked out of practice Tuesday),” Kelly Walsh head coach Jerry Realing said. “I give a lot of credit for that to this being a rivalry game.”
Not only did the Trojans (9-1-0, 7-0-0 Class 4A West) respond, but they did so quickly.
In the teams’ first meeting this season — a 4-0 Kelly Walsh shutout — the game was scoreless at the half. Last Wednesday, however, Klungness put the Trojans on the board in the 10th minute when she took a crossing pass from Abree Hill and beat Natrona goalkeeper Rylie Garner with a low shot to the far right corner.
Not surprisingly, the play began in the middle of the field when senior Sara Lamb gained control of the ball and sent a through-ball ahead to Hill on the left flank.
“Our midfield is so important to what we want to do offensively and defensively,” Klungness said. “And their passing is impeccable.”
That precision was on display again in the 27th minute when Hill connected with senior Chelsea Thornburgh, who buried a shot into the upper right corner for a 2-0 lead.
The Trojans, who had a 6-1 advantage on the Fillies (3-7-0, 2-6-0 4A West) in shots on goal in the opening frame, maintained that pressure in the second half.
With Lamb once again serving as the starting point, senior Bailey Neff scored in the 44th minute off an assist from Klungness to make it 3-0.
Klungness added her second goal off an assist from junior Kendal Chipperfield, who Realing calls the “heart and engine” of the Trojans, in the 68th minute when she slipped a shot past Garner, who went down awkwardly after coming off her line to try and make the save. Garner had to be carted off the field and it was revealed later she had suffered a broken leg on the play.
Natrona backup keeper Erin Bergman was put to the test early by the Trojans and she made a couple of saves before Lamb connected with Chipperfield and the junior found the back of the net for her first goal of the season.
The 5-0 victory was the largest for Kelly Walsh in the 31-year history of the Casper Cup and puts the trophy in the Trojans’ possession for the first time since 2014. Natrona leads the all-time series 16-10-5.
It was great to have a convincing win,” Realing said. “We’ll enjoy today and get back at it. I’ll look at the film and I’m sure I can find things we need to work on.”