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Braves ride Nelson’s hat-trick to road win

◆ Rock Springs hosting Star Valley this weekend.

Plenty of sadness was expressed about missing certain events due to COVID-19, but the athletes of last spring lost an entire season. For Star Valley Soccer, the 2019 version was one of the best teams in school history and had a real chance to come back and perhaps win the school’s first ever state championship in 2020.

Instead, that group will fade into the what-if portion of program history.

Plenty of talent returns after a year off and that showed as the Braves routed the Green River Wolves in a 4-0 outing last Friday in the school’s first varsity soccer match in nearly two years.

“I felt like our boys played really well,” stated Head Coach Trevor Spencer as he picked up his first win in that position. “Leading up to the game I had been concerned because they haven’t played a competitive match in a couple of years so I didn’t know where we were at. We did a lot of really good things but there are some signs we can work on too.”

Coming off impressive campaigns in both football and basketball, Brant Nelson knifed through the Wolves with three goals in the game to earn the “hat trick”.

“I told him before the season that we needed him to score goals for us,” Spencer said. “We expect big things from him this season.”

Davis Burton added the team’s other goal for the total.

Spencer also pointed out that the match was an opportunity for some players to get additional minutes as some players had commitments with the school musical. He also complimented the players who contributed to the shutout.

“Our defense played amazing,” he said. “One of the bright spots heading into the season is our defense. We have some height and some bigger kids who make up an intimidating back line.”

He also pointed out some new players to the program including Alphonso Perez who has previously played at Jackson Hole High School.

“He had a fantastic game,” Spencer continued. “We had some kids get some varsity time because of some conflicts and that should benefit the team as well.”

This Friday the program heads back to Sweetwater County as they face off against the Rock Springs Tigers.
“Historically Rock Springs has had a good program,” Spencer added. “They have fought us hard in the past. I truly expect this week to be a bit of a tougher test for us. They have a competive soccer club so they’ve played a lot of soccer. I feel confident that we’ll be up to the task but I do expect a tougher game. “

Spencer also praised his team for battling through the uncertainty and adversity of the past 22 months.

“I just want to reiterate that they are fantastic young men,” he concluded. “They have shown through last winter and last summer they want to play soccer. We have a lot of kids who feel soccer is their main sport so it’s awesome to see the sport grow and we’re excited to see where that’s going to take us.”