Middle Park High School soccer: Lady Panthers redefine success on the field by looking away from scoreboard | SkyHiNews.com

Middle Park High School soccer: Lady Panthers redefine success on the field by looking away from scoreboard

by Will Bublitz
Sky-Hi Daily News

As the end of its regular season approaches, Middle Park High’s girls soccer team suffered through a trio of losses last week as it fell to some of the top teams in the Metro League.

The Lady Panthers lost 2-0 to Colorado Academy on Tuesday, April 15, followed by a 7-1 trouncing from Holy Family last Friday, April 18. Then, on Saturday, April 19, Middle Park was shutout 5-0 by Kent Denver.

“We lost these three games going into this week, which is our last week of the regular season,” said Coach Molly Sargent.

In last Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to Colorado Academy, Middle Park was unable to stop their opponents from scoring in the first half, but rallied in the second to prevent further goals.

“We got off to sort of a rocky start coming into the game off spring break,” Sargent said. “Over halftime, our gals regouped. In that second half, they showed that they really wanted the ball and had a better sense of urgency. They were more aggressive and had a tighter defense. They played as a complete team in that second half.”

Lady Panther goalkeeper Angela Malley was praised for her performance.

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“Angela had 11 important saves that kept the score low,” Sargent said. “She continues to be our rock because she always put forth 100-percent effort which isn’t easy to do on a day-to-day basis.”

Also commended for their play were the team’s wing midfielders Kristin VanHorn, Makenna Morck and Anna Conrad.

“These three did a good job collectively in balancing their offensive attack with their defensive recovery,” Sargent said.

In Friday’s 7-1 pasting by Holy Family, Middle Park had trouble matching the Tigers’ very aggressive style during the game’s first 40 minutes of play.

“Holy Family was very physical as well as being aggressive. They ran the ball very well,” Sargent said.

Already far behind on the scoreboard by halftime, the Lady Panthers decided concentrate upon certain objectives rather than worrying about the score.

“We decided we were going to focus on specific goals so that we could come away from the game knowing we’d been successful,” Sargent said. “Our goals were to tear into possession, tighten up our defense and be more confident with the ball.”

The refocusing helped so much that the team was actually able to go on the attack and score.

“We accomplished those goals with a great direct kick by Hannah Levett to score,” Sargent said. “Overall, we played better in that second half, allowing fewer goals by Holy Family.”

Rounding out the trio of defeats was Saturday’s 5-0 shutout to Kent Denver.

“We went into that game with three specific goals in mind,” Sargent said. “We decided that regardless of the score, we were going to hustle, have a better first touch on the ball and have an overall sense of urgency. When it was over, I think our girls left the game proud that they had accomplished those goals. They had smiles on their faces.”

Middle Park goalie Angela Malley earned 16 saves in the game.

“Angela continued to show her strength in goal,” Sargent said. “And Andy Huston helped by communicating with her teammates to improve the overall quality of the game.”

Also praised for their play were Lindsey Birdseye, Ryndi Zastrow and Cassie Strang.

“Lindsey continued to incorporate a creative offense with a recovering defense,” Sargent said. “Ryndi put forth 100-percent effort and her enthusiasm was infectious. And Cassie did a great job of delegating, monitoring and getting the ball out of the middle of the field with power.”

Middle Park is now in its final week of the regular season with four games to play.

Three of these games are Metro League competitions.

The first game is this Thursday, April 24 against Peak to Peak in Lafayette. The varsity game starts at 4 p.m., followed by the junior varsity at 5:45 p.m.

On Friday, April 25, the Lady Panthers will host their first home game of the season against Weld Central. The varsity game starts at 4 p.m., followed by the junior varsity at 5:45 p.m.

Middle Park will then host another home game this Saturday, April 26 as it hosts Faith Christian. The varsity game starts at 11 a.m., followed by the junior varsity at 1 p.m.

The final regular season game will be played on Monday, April 28. The Lady Panthers will host Denver Christian with the varsity game at 4 p.m., followed by the junior varsity at 5:45 p.m.

“Please come out and support the home team,” Sargent said.

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