Granby " Middle Park soccer team misses opportunities, drops two games | SkyHiNews.com

Granby " Middle Park soccer team misses opportunities, drops two games

Will Bublitz
Sky-Hi Daily News

Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News

The soccer ball has just not been bouncing in favor of the Middle Park High team during its last two games as the Panthers lost to both Classical Academy and Holy Family in home games.

On Saturday, Sept. 13, Middle Park hosted Classic Academy, which won in a 4-0 shutout. Then on Monday, Sept. 15, the Panthers fell a second time on their home field to Holy Family by a score of 7-2.

“We played hard in both games and never gave up, but they were just not our lucky days,” said coach Shawn McElroy.

In Saturday’s 4-0 loss to Classical Academy, the Panthers held the game scoreless until four minutes left in the first half, when their opponents finally hammered the ball into the net.

“It was the same pattern for that game as in our season-opener against Eagle Valley,” McElroy said. “We gave up one goal before halftime, and then came out strong and played really well for the first 10 minutes of the second half before we gave up possession of the ball to the other team.”

With less than seven minutes on the game clock, Classical Academy scored its second goal on a penalty kick. They quickly followed it up with two more goals before the buzzer sounded.

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“For most of second half, we didn’t give them many chances,” McElroy said. “But they finally wore down our defense.”

McElroy commended midfielder Nate Birdseye, who he said “played tirelessly” during Saturday’s game. He also praised Walter Shoup for his work on defense.

In Monday’s 7-2 loss to Holy Family, Middle Park went on the attack immediately and scored the first goal after only three minutes. Panther forward Elliott Levett won possession of the ball, got to the outside and slipped the ball past the Tigers’ goalkeeper to make the unassisted goal.

Middle Park’s one-point lead did not last long as Holy Family, which is currently ranked fourth in the state, pounded in two goals midway into the first half.

The Panthers quickly responded with another goal of their own. Getting an assist from Levett, Senior Captain Robert Johnson blasted the ball into the net to tie up the score 2-2.

But the tie was just as quickly broken by the Tigers, who hammered in two more goals before the first half ended.

“We had some wide-open opportunities to even the score up again, including a penalty kick, but it did not happen,” McElroy said.

In second half of Monday’s game, the Panthers tried to recover but things did not go as they had hoped. The Tigers succeeded in scoring three more goals before the clock ran out.

“It wasn’t like Holy Family completely dominated us,” McElroy said. “We played hard and well, but we didn’t capitalize on our opportunities and didn’t finish.”

McElroy praised Panther goalkeeper Kyle Potts for making several saves. He also commended the play of the team’s backfield defenders Tim Leman, Bartosz Koczera and Walter Shoup.

Despite the losses, coach McElroy said he believes those dark clouds may have had a silver lining because he believes they have helped the team step up its play and prepare it for the start of conference play this week.

Today, the Panthers travel to Leadville to play Lake County in a 4 p.m. varsity game. Then on Saturday, they will host Denver Tech. in an 11 a.m. game on Middle Park High’s field.

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