The Kelly Walsh seniors held up the Casper Cup following Tuesday afternoon's 2-0 victory and posed for pictures. Having shown a smile, senior Nicole Klungness then sat on some foliage along Cheney Alumni Field frustrated. It was not one of her typical games.
The Trojans scored a third consecutive win in the rivalry for the first time since 1994-96, but the top scorer in program history was held scoreless. She scored four times against Natrona County in last year's Casper Cup only to bare the brunt of the Trojans' frustration on Tuesday.
"As far as pressure on their defensive third and on our midfield and on their goal it was probably one of the most dominant performances that we had," Kelly Walsh head coach Jerry Realing said. "We just couldn't get the ball into the back of the net."
And that dominance started from the get-go. Natrona County's solace came from goalkeeper Hannah Trumbull, who kept the first half scoreless. The sophomore keeper made eight of her 18 saves in the first half and came off her line to smother multiple crosses. Each Trojan quality chance brought an audible gasp from the traveling contingent only to be followed by a frustrated exhale through the first 40 minutes.
Trumbull held the clean sheet through shots on target from Klungness, Noelle Vigneri and Melicia McIntyre. Klungness especially saw multiple chances turned away. At one point the senior made her run into the side of the box, planted a freeing touch to create space and let a shot go. Having already been turned away many times, Klungness's shot bounced off the crossbar and away from goal. She helplessly threw her hands up and Realing spiked his ski cap into the turf out of frustration.
"Realing was saying, 'When you're going through hell you've got to get through it.' And that was kind of our hell today so we had to power through that," Vigneri said. "I know Nicole is really disappointed. She's a great player and she showed that really well, just to power through."
Sparked by Trumbull's play, the Fillies (1-7-4, 1-4-4-1 Class 4A West) in turn started to generate offense in the final 15 minutes of the first half. The best of those chances came on the break when senior Avery Potter sent a through pass into the box that forward Reece Potter was fouled in the process of getting on. The official did not call for a penalty, but instead gave the Fillies an indirect free kick inside the box. Avery Potter took the kick and shot it just over the cross bar in the 29th minute.
Neither side could gain a significant advantage into the break from that point and the home crowd applauded the underdog Fillies as they made for the locker room. Kelly Walsh (10-2-0, 9-1-0 4A West), meanwhile, slumped into a huddle and lamented missed chances.
Kelly Walsh continued its push out of the intermission and, inevitably, the Trojans broke through. Defender Audrey Mosier took instruction from Realing and eyed the ball from 40 yards out. Her strike found Vigneri on the near side of the box and the midfielder was able to toe-poke the ball into the back of the net. After nearly 49 minutes of frustration, the Trojans celebrated the go-ahead.
"Audrey placed that perfectly and I just got the right touch on it and placed it right behind where Hannah couldn't see it," Vigneri said. "It was a cool goal, yeah."
The Trojans then sealed their third consecutive Casper Cup almost 14 minutes later when the team showcased its passing potential. A quick turn at midfield from Vigneri found Klungness, who ran the ball down the edge of the box. The senior then floated a cross to the far post, where Hadlee Hollinger hip-checked the ball over the goal line.
Kelly Walsh saw through the match with full momentum and secured a sixth consecutive win over the struggling Fillies in all competitions with a scoring margin of 27-2.
"We've been working hard and we love rivalry games," Vigneri said. "So for us to come out and show that, means a lot to us."