March was a great month for the Natrona County Mustangs. It included a five-match undefeated streak that included a 3-2 win over Laramie.
The problem for the Mustangs is March ended six weeks ago. They’ve only won three matches since the start of April, and only one of those came in the past five games. That one game happened to be at the Class 4A West Regional, which lifted the Mustangs to yet another state tournament berth.
Despite what the past six weeks have been like for the Mustangs, they travel to Jackson for the Wyoming State High School Class 4A Boys Soccer Championship as the No. 4 seed from the West. However, the Mustangs get No. 1 Thunder Basin in the quarterfinals.
For much of the season the Bolts have been the top team in the state. They opened with less-than-convincing victories but, following the season-opening 13-game winning streak, their standing has never been doubted.
Thunder Basin has allowed only 10 goals all year, the fewest by any 4A team. Goalkeeper Jacoby Garcia isn’t even in the top five in saves. The Bolts are stout and every shot on goal is truly earned.
This makes for an interesting match-up with Natrona County, which hopes to utilize its speed and skill on the outside in order to create holes in the defense. The speed of Jordan Milby, Davin Camp and Reegan Chadderdon has caused problems for opposing defenses, allowing midfield captain Nic Gindulis to knock in his eight goals. It should be noted that Milby has eight goals of his own.
All of them will have to be on their game and keep a level head. The Mustangs are good at creating chances but finishing has been an issue. Thunder Basin has averaged just two goals per match in its last three games. Its only loss, a 2-0 shutout to Laramie, proves that the Bolts can be locked down.
Speed favors the Mustangs, but they’ll have to not get discouraged by any missed chances while also cutting out any Bolts attack before it gets to the 18-yard box. That’s what they did against Laramie in what was perhaps the Mustangs’ best all-around performance of the season.