CHEYENNE — Ariel Romero capped Laramie’s comeback Wednesday.
She also put an image to the team’s resiliency.
A little more than a minute into overtime, Romero managed to get a shot around Cheyenne Central goalkeeper Kacee Walsh and away from the tight defense of Makayla McBride, lifting the Lady Plainsmen to a 3-2 overtime win at Riske Field.
“I took one last step and I just used my outside foot and I just kind of passed,” Romero said. “I was just trying to aim for a corner.”
Her shot in the 81st minute capped a furious comeback for No. 2-ranked Laramie (8-1-0 overall, 6-1 Class 4A East Conference).
Fourth-ranked Central took a 2-0 lead in the first half on goals by senior Sierra Kuno and junior Madi Barber in 33rd and 36th minutes, respectively. Both of those goals came with the wind at the Indians’ back.
Laramie returned the favor in the second half when the field position switched. Lexi Coca scored on a blast in the 57th minute and Jacqui Pulley tied the match in the 63rd minute with a looping shot over Walsh’s head.
“For them to have to come back from behind, why can’t we just do it from the get-go?,” Laramie coach Kim Whisenant joked.
“I think we’re just that kind of team. We know we’re going to find a way, which I’m fine with, too. We had confidence going into the overtime. I knew they knew we were going to find another goal too.”
Despite the wind-aided regulation goals, Laramie netted the game-winner into the teeth of the gusts. A defensive breakdown left Romero all alone with McBride and Walsh in the middle of the field.
She managed to work around McBride’s defense on her left side and found a way to push the ball past Walsh who was coming out to try and tighten the window to shoot.
“Everyone’s working hard as a team but when midfielders don’t get back, it’s hard on the defense because it’s more offenders we have to guard and it leaves people open,” Central defender Madison Stumpf said.
Despite the loss, Central coach Scott Foster thought Wednesday’s match was just the kind of battle his team needed after more than a week away from competition due to the recent snowstorms.
The Indians (2-4-2, 2-1-2) had not been on Riske Field since playing Cheyenne South back on April 13. With five games over the next eight days and weekend trips to Gillette and Sheridan, a tough loss might have been just as needed as a hard fought win.
“Our mistakes were just ones we shouldn’t be making at this point,” Foster said. “I told the girls, ‘We made some mistakes. Let’s take (Wednesday) and learn from it. Let’s put it behind us and pull together as a team, regroup and let’s come this weekend and let’s play 100 percent.’”
LADY PLAINSMEN 3, LADY INDIANS 2 (OT)
Laramie 0 2 1 0 — 3
Central 2 0 0 0 — 2
First Half Scoring
Central — Sierra Kuno (33rd). Assist: unassisted.
Central — Madi Barber (36th). Assist: unassisted.
Second Half Scoring
Laramie — Lexi Coca (57th). Assist: unassisted.
Laramie — Jacqui Pulley (63rd). Assist: unassisted.
First Overtime Scoring
Laramie — Ariel Romero (81st). Assist: unassisted.
Second Overtime Scoring
Shots: Laramie 21, Central 15. Shots on goal: Laramie 17, Central 5. Saves: Laramie 2 (Shelby Jackson 2). Central 14 (Kacee Walsh). Fouls: Laramie 11, Central 13. Offsides: Laramie 1, Central 1. Corner kicks: Laramie 8, Central 1. Cards: Laramie: none. East: Bagby (yellow, 83rd).