It’s not often that Wyoming high school soccer gets a pure goal-scoring talent in the Class 4A West Conference. A forward who can handle pressure and score from angles that make the crowd gasp and opponents deflate.
But that’s the kind of talent Rock Springs has in sophomore forward Alyssa Bedard. Bedard had 15 goals on the season coming into Friday’s frigid matchup against Kelly Walsh at the Tom Staffileno Activities Complex, where she added to her tally.
Bedard finished her scoring output with a high-arching shot from 20 yards away that careened over goalkeeper Alyssa DePoorter and into the far side of the net. It was her third goal of the game and helped build a two-goal lead in what would be a 4-1 victory.
While the elements — noticeable flurries underlined by a cutting wind — were impossible to ignore, they had little influence on the outcome of the game, Kelly Walsh head coach Jerry Realing believed.
“Unless Mother Nature’s name is the Rock Springs Lady Tigers,” Realing said. “Credit to them, they just came out and played harder than we did.”
Rock Springs seized control immediately. Beginning with two corner kicks in the first two minutes, Kelly Walsh’s back line was tested early and often.
Bedard opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a shot just outside the box. The sophomore found enough of an opening against the Trojans’ center backs and beat DePoorter far post.
Kelly Walsh nearly responded immediately on a rare misstep from Rock Springs goalkeeper Alyssa Vigil. The senior keeper dove to smother the ball in the box but it trickled away and onto the feet of junior forward Nicole Klungness. Her shot was on target but cleared off the line by the Tigers.
Five minutes later Klungness helped draw the Trojans even with a through pass that found junior Noelle Vigneri past her defender. Vigneri won the ball and sent a chip over an oncoming Vigil.
The deadlock remained for only six minutes before Bedard scored her second goal with a shot that was almost identical to her third goal.
“Teams have to respect her when they play her,” Rock Springs head coach Stephen Pyer said. “What that can do is open up shots for teammates and if it doesn’t then she can go off.”
Realing added: “You can’t give Bedard any room and we did. I don’t know how those shots ... three goals from outside the 18.”
Kelly Walsh did generate more chances and even controlled most of the possession in the second half but could not get past Vigil. The senior goalkeeper smothered numerous through passes to prevent chances inside the box.
Vigil is a physical goalkeeper that plays with intelligence and a willingness to put her body on the line. That has played out most of the year and it came in handy Friday.
“I feel comfortable with her,” Pyer said. “We’ve only allowed two goals so far this year now and both of them have been because she didn’t come out at the right time. Every other time she’s coming out and getting to through balls. It’s like having another sweeper out there.”
If not for Vigil, the game would have been a lot different. Down two scores for most of the second half, the Trojans knocked on the door but were always a half-step behind the standout goalkeeper.
Freshman forward Olivia Politi scored the final goal for Rock Springs with three minutes remaining to ice the match.
What became a 4-1 margin confirmed Rock Springs to be the better team on Friday, but it did not accurately reflect how close Kelly Walsh was from staying even.
“Certainly no panic mode,” Realing said. “We got beat by a quality team, so we’ll come back tomorrow and put some things back together. We didn’t play terrible, but the score doesn’t show that.”
FRIDAY: Rock Springs 4, Kelly Walsh 1.
RECORDS: Tigers 8-1-0 (4-0-0 Class 4A West Conference) Trojans 5-3-1 (3-1-0 4A West).
HAT TRICK HERO: Rock Springs standout Alyssa Bedard netted the first three Tigers goals, all from outside the box.
SHE SAID IT: “We did create a lot of opportunities and we’re a half-a-step away from that being a different score.” — KW head coach Jerry Realing.
ROCK SPRINGS 4, KELLY WALSH 1
RS 2 2 4
KW 1 0 1
First half: RS, Alyssa Bedard (Ali Lange), 9:21 KW, Noelle Vigneri (Nicole Klungness), 18:24 RS, Alyssa Bedard (unassisted), 24:54.
Second half: RS, Alyssa Bedard (Kia Comstock), 54:35 RS, Olivia Politi (unassisted), 76:55.
Shots: Rock Springs 15, Kelly Walsh 7 Shots on goals: Rock Springs 10, Kelly Walsh 5 Saves: Rock Springs 4 (Alyssa Vigil), Kelly Walsh 6 (Alyssa DePoorter) Corners: Rock Springs 4, Kelly Walsh 2 Fouls: Rock Springs 6, Kelly Walsh 3 Offsides: Rock Springs 1, Kelly Walsh 4.