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Bolts' late goal forces tie with East

Apr. 20—CHEYENNE — Despite a back-and-forth game, Cheyenne East's boys soccer team held a 4-3 advantage heading into the 79th minute and looked poised to knock off reigning Class 4A state champion Thunder Basin.

But in the 79th minute, the Thunderbirds were called for a foul and set up Ricardo Ruiz with a free kick from 25 yards away. Ruiz perfectly placed the ensuing kick over the heads of the wall and just inside the right post to tie the game and force a 4-4 draw between the two teams.

In spite of falling just short of three points and sole possession of second place in 4A East, first-year coach Alex Stratton was pleased with the way his team played.

"We were a lot more in control of the game," the coach said. "Our build ups were really nice and we were able to find possession and through balls. When adversity hit, we responded a lot better than we did last time (against them)."

The game was filled with momentum changes and adversity on both sides of the field. By the time the final horn sounded, the teams had been tied on four separate occasions and changed leads twice.

While they would have liked to have gotten out of the game with a win, East's ability to lay through all the adversity and still come away with a point in the standings is a testament to the mental fortitude on the team, according to senior forward Brenden Bohlmann.

"We work hard and a tie is alright," Bohlmann said. "We battled through adversity and got the point, so it is what it is."

Santiago Ramirez Munoz opened the scoring in the 11th minute when he beat Bolts keeper Spencer Clabaugh to a loose ball. But six minutes later, Thunder Basin's German Burriel notched his first of the game to tie things back up.

Hunter Sallee restored East's lead in the 32nd from about 35 yards out after he received a chip pass from Bohlmann. Three minutes later, Ricardo Ruiz's free kick from midfield bounced over everyone and into the left corner of the net to tie things at two.

Burriel notched his second of the game in the 50th to give Thunder Basin its first lead of the game.

"(We just wanted to) keep pushing and stay focused," Bohlmann said. "(We wanted) to get a couple goals and get the lead back."

That mindset came true just eight minutes later.

Bohlmann received a bouncing pass from Sallee, but had to corral the pass before turning and blasting a shot into the net to tie the game at three. Three minutes later, Bohlmann scored again after Ramirez Munoz found Bohlmann wide open at the 24 to give East a 4-3 lead.

Bohlmann said he woke up Saturday morning feeling great about the upcoming game and was feeling himself throughout the contest.

"He's a stud," Stratton said. "Everything essentially goes through him and our ebbs and flows go through him. When he is on he is extremely dangerous, and he has that 'it' factor."

The senior had one more chance late to put the game away, but Clabaugh came up with the biggest save of the game, sliding to his right to rob Bohlmann just off the side of the goal.

It proved to be the save the Bolts needed to keep their comeback hopes alive.

EAST 4, THUNDER BASIN 4

Halftime: Tied 2-2.

Goals: East, Ramirez Munoz (Bohlmann), 11, Thunder Basin, Burriel (unassisted), 17, East, Sallee (Bohlmann), 32, Thunder Basin, Ruiz (free kick), 35, Thunder Basin, Burriel (unassisted), 50, East, Bohlmann (Sallee), 58, East, Bohlmann (Ramirez Munoz), 61, Thunder Basin, Ruiz (free kick), 79.

Shots: Thunder Basin 13, East 12. Shots on goal: Thunder Basin 7, East 8. Saves: Thunder Basin 4 (Clabaugh), East 3 (Miller).

Corner kicks: Thunder Basin 8, East 4. Offsides: Thunder Basin 4, East 0. Fouls: Thunder Basin 8, East 3. Yellow cards: Thunder Basin 2 (Coach, 61, Ruiz, 79), East 0.

Matt Atencio covers Laramie County prep sports for WyoSports. He can be reached at matencio@wyosports.net. Follow him on X at @MattAtencio5.