Granby " Lady Panthers soccer team shows it means business this season
Sky-Hi Daily News
In their most recent games, Middle Park High’s girls soccer players proved to all that they are a force to be reckoned with this season, fighting two top teams to close final scores.
Last Friday, March 28, the Lady Panthers lost a 1-0 heartbreaker to Berthoud, but then rebounded to earn a 7-6 come-from-behind victory over Bishop Machebeuf on Monday, March 31.
“These two games have proven that this year’s team is unlike any in the past,” said coach Molly Sargent. “In other seasons, when things got tough, we had two or three players who would not give up.
“As these games have shown, we now have a complete team where all our players work together and fight to the end. We have distinct goals this season and we’re confident of achieving them.”
In Friday’s close loss to Berthoud, Middle Park’s players fought hard from start to finish.
“We lost 1-0. However, we played the best game that we’ve played so far this season against a very tough and demanding team,” Sargent said. “It was an unfortunate loss, but one that raised the level of expectation for our gals.”
Berthoud came on strong from the opening minute with the Lady Panthers putting up a strong defense.
“Berthoud moved the ball very well,” Sargent said. “They had a very quick offense that shot very accurately and passed well. Our veteran defense were able to respond quickly by tightening up their play. We switched players and recovered well, resulting in our giving up only one goal.”
Sargent praised her players, describing Friday’s game as “a great team effort.”
“Our girls displayed a combination of heart, quality of play and aggressiveness,” she said.
Notable individual performances were made by Anna Conrad and Makenna Morck.
“Anna, who in past years tried to balance club volleyball and soccer during the spring, had the best soccer game of her career,” Sargent said. “Makenna also had her best game, stepping up by playing good defense and maintaining her awareness on the field. It’s great to see this kind of growth in our players.”
Also commended for their defensive teamwork were Jaime Sutton and Angela Malley.
“Jaime as our (sweeper) and Angela as our goalie were both very solid and consistent against Berthoud,” Sargent said.
Traveling back to Denver on Monday, the Lady Panthers played their first Metro League game of the season. They took on the Bishop Machebeuf’s Buffaloes, a team they had never beaten. When the contest ended, Middle Park surprised not only their opponents but themselves by winning it 7-6.
“Our players went into that game with a very intense purpose, which was to win,” Sargent said. “We wanted to prove to the Metro League that we are competitive and to make sure that they don’t forget about us.”
Describing it as “the best first half we’ve played all season,” Sargent said the team concentrated on “breaking down” the Buffaloes’ defense, especially their three best players, who were all All-Conference Second Team members from last season.
“Jaime Sutton did an exceptional job marking up Machebeuf’s best player Meagan Xavier, who had scored 20 goals last year, but she allowed her only one in Monday’s game,” Sargent said. “Rylee Burrows also did a good job of being patient and persistent on defense, and marking up another of Machebeuf’s great players, Gaby Gould.”
Despite a good effort, Middle Park found itself trailing 5-2 after five minutes into the second half. That’s when, suddenly, the Lady Panthers caught fire, went on the attack and pounded in goal after goal until they pulled off their 7-6 comeback win.
“In previous years, if we had been down that much with 35 minutes left in the second half, our team would have typically thrown in the towel and given up,” Sargent said. “But they did otherwise this time. They began to fight back with aggressiveness, good tactics and unrelenting pursuit.”
Monday’s victory is even more remarkable because last season Middle Park fell to Machebeuf by the lopsided score of 7-1.
“We shot 22 times on the Buffaloes’ net Monday to the four we did in last year’s game,” Sargent said.
All of the team’s scoring against Machebeuf was earned by what Sargent described as the team’s “dynamic trio” ” Ryndi Zastrow, Lindsey Birdseye and Hannah Levett. Zastrow and Birdseye earned two goals apiece while Levett made the “hat trick” of three goals.
“In the eight years of Middle Park High’s girls soccer program, our varsity team has never beaten a Metro League team other than Sheridan,” Sargent said. “This win in our first league game of the season is a great way to start and will give us momentum into the rest of our Metro League games. We’re currently at the top of the league’s standings and that’s never happened before.”
The Lady Panthers will be playing their next league game on Thursday against St. Mary’s Academy at 4 p.m. in Denver.
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