Last year couldn’t have been much worse for the Natrona County Fillies.
The defense struggled, forward Avery Potter battled shin splints and the few remaining players were inexperienced. All things considered, the 5-2 loss to Jackson in the 4A West Regional should not have been a surprise.
That loss resulted in the Fillies missing the state tournament for the first time since 2006. Again, not a surprise, but not an acceptable outcome.
The Fillies return to the state tournament this year having undergone a major shakeup over the offseason. Potter has moved to centerback, helping bolster the defense. Freshman goalkeeper Hannah Trumbull stands in goal with confidence. Senior forward Julia Cox has led the offense with nine goals so far.
Seniors Sarah Williams and Emma Shutts, junior Alyssa Orr, sophomore Tessa Coughenour and freshman Reece Potter have added depth and strength where the Fillies have needed it.
As a result, the Fillies return to the state tournament with house money.
Awaiting Natrona County in the quarterfinals of the 2018 Wyoming High School Class 4A Girls Soccer Championship is East Conference No. 1 seed Thunder Basin.
The Bolts won the East Regional and have the most potent scoring offense in the state. Wyoming commit DeLaney Hallcroft leads the scoring with 29 goals, junior Grace Roswadovski adds 22 and junior Kennedy Ayers has seven goals with 31 assists — nearly double the amount of the second-most in 4A.
Add in the fact that no West Conference girls soccer team has won a quarterfinal game since 2009. So there should be no pressure on the Fillies whatsoever.
All the pressure stands on Thunder Basin. Seven of the Bolts were all-conference players on last year’s state-championship Gillette squad. They lost just twice throughout the season and, considering the returning talent, the Bolts are expected to compete for gold in the program’s first year.
In a setting where one mistake could snowball, where the projected rain levels the playing field, the Fillies aren’t out of the quarterfinals until the final whistle.