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Laramie boys soccer upends visiting Campbell County

Apr. 21—A determined start led to a dominate first half, and a 4-0 win for the Laramie High boys soccer team against Campbell County on Saturday at Deti Stadium.

The Plainsmen established a commanding 3-0 lead 23 minutes into the game with goals from three different players. Seniors Sam Kaiser, Paulo Mellizo and Karson Busch all found the net.

"From the first moment, I could tell Paulo had a little extra determination and grit," Plainsmen coach Andy Pannell said. "On the whole, guys responded well to a tough end to last night's game with an excellent start."

Kaiser scored the first goal with an assist from Mellizo in the 14th minute. The chance came after a Camel goal kick was possessed by Laramie at midfield and passed through the center to Mellizo who connected it to Kaiser who beat his defender off the wing for an open look.

With the score, LHS grasped full momentum and saw an uptick in offensive pressure. Soon after, Busch attempted a shot on a free kick from 12 yards out, but the attempt was saved by Campbell County goalkeeper Patrick Lynch.

Lynch launched a kick to midfield where teammate junior Sammy Heaney stole the ball away from a Camel's midfielder, and ripped a rolling pass through the backline. Mellizo outran his defender and made the shot as Lynch was crashing in.

A few minutes later, Mellizo nearly scored again with a wide open look at the net. Unfortunately, the ball hit the side of his foot and spun awkwardly away from the net.

He made up for it shortly after connecting a pass to Busch on Laramie's next possession. Busch gained control of the pass with only Lynch to beat and scored the foal.

"The story of the day was Paulo," Pannell said. "Never during my tenure have I had a player finish a game with two goals and two assists. He almost pulled it off in the first half. It was a tremendous effort by him."

LHS nearly added a fourth goal in the 33rd minute after senior Lucas Dillion's pass found Heaney a few feet from the net. However, the Camels defense closed in before he could get a shot off.

Campbell County's best chance to score came in the 35th minute after senior Jose Aguayo had a free run at the net. Unfortunately for the Camels, he couldn't control his touch and LHS' goalkeeper senior Declan O'Connor ran out and dove on the ball.

"Last night hurt," Mellizo said. "We were up the whole game and we took (losing the lead) personal. We came out firing on all cylinders, and it was good to convert on our chances."

With firm control of the game, Pannell decided to empty the bench and allowed a lot of the Plainsmen's depth to gain experience against varsity competition. LHS dictated the pace of play and added a fourth goal in the 71st minute from Mellizo.

"Karson (Busch) got me the ball from midfield," Mellizo said. "I turned once and had two defenders on me. I split them and was able to keep my composure to finish."

The Camels once again got close to a goal in the 76th minute as junior Connor Branscom smoked a shot from the 25 yard line. The shot rattled the top half of the cross bar and skid out of bounds.

"Last night, we let our guard down," Mellizo said. "Today, we were really focused in the second half. We passed it around, and didn't take our foot off the gas."

Laramie (5-3-2 overall, 3-3-2 Class 4A East conference) will host Cheyenne South (1-9, 0-8) at 6 p.m. on Tuesday inside Deti Stadium.

LARAMIE 4, CAMPBELL COUNTY 0

Halftime: Laramie 3-0.

Goals: Laramie, Kaiser (Mellizo), 14. Laramie, Mellizo (Heaney) 19, Laramie, Busch (Mellizo) 23, Laramie, Mellizo (Busch) 71.

Shots: Laramie 15, Campbell County 13. Shots on goal: Laramie 9, Campbell County 4. Saves: Laramie 4 (O'Connor); Campbell County 4 (Lynch).

Corner kicks: Laramie 5, Campbell County 0. Offsides: Laramie 0, Campbell County 0. Fouls: Laramie 8, Campbell County 8.

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Austin Edmonds covers Laramie High, University of Wyoming and community athletics for WyoSports. He can be reached at aedmonds@wyosports.net. Follow him on X at @_austinedmonds.