Lady Panthers lose to Longhorns in overtime heartbreaker, 3-2
The Middle Park Panthers’ season came to an end on Wednesday afternoon after a hard-fought overtime loss to the Basalt Longhorns, 3-2. The Longhorns are scheduled to play the third seeded Kent Denver Sun Devils on May 12.
It was a swift exit from the state tournament for the Panthers, who went 9-6 in the regular season, including a seven-game winning streak at their peak.
“These girls played really hard,” said Jeff Ehlert, Middle Park’s head coach. “This year was kind of a roller coaster. We started out rough, but really got things going pretty well. Then we had kind of a letdown after that big win against St. Mary’s. We played the best we could today, but just fell a little short.”
The Panthers led twice during the game. Junior Caitlin Davis gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead with just under 17 minutes left in the first half, but it was quickly erased after the Longhorns scored on a rebounded penalty kick.
The Panthers took the lead again in the second half on a goal by Junior Lisa Mcclain, but couldn’t hold on as the second half lingered. The Longhorns tied it up with less than 19 minutes remaining.
“In the beginning we were trying to force it up the field a lot,” said Basalt Coach Andrew Huntsman. “Their defense is incredible, they were stopping through balls and it just wasn’t happening for us.
“We had to possess it more and try to drag those girls out to get something to happen, and it did. It was a well-fought game. I’m really proud of how competitive it was, and how closely matched it was.”
The Longhorns won the game in sudden-death overtime.
Senior Kiera Barr was the hard luck loser at goalie for the Panthers, despite several impressive saves. Senior Kate Schrock recorded the win for the Longhorns in a noteworthy performance of her own.
“We played well, we just weren’t anticipating plays well enough to get back under the ball,” said Ehlert. “We were standing there wanting a little bit when we got tired. That’s just what happens when you get tired.
“It was a great season, can’t say much more than that. Somebody’s got to win and somebody’s got to lose.”
Basalt will go on to play the Kent Denver Sun Devils in the second round of the tournament.
“I think they’ve worked very hard and I’m proud of them for that,” said Huntsman. “I’m happy this went our way today and we were able to finish it. Now its time to regroup and focus on the next step…Kent Denver is an incredible program, and we expect the best from them.”
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In response to a heightened fire risk, Grand County commissioners unanimously approved Tuesday a move into a Stage 1 fire ban that goes into effect at noon Wednesday.