Middle Park High School girls soccer team rolls to 7-3 record
Sky-Hi News sports correspondent
Grand County, CO Colorado
The Lady Panther soccer team from Middle Park High School continues to perform well on the soccer pitch and now has a season record of 7-3.
The team has dropped two critical games in April, one to The Academy, the league’s leading team, and the other to Bennett, in a game that the Lady Panthers outplayed the Tigers but came up on the short end of the score.
In the 4-2 loss against The Academy, Middle Park didn’t play well in the first half as the players seemed to be hesitant to try and gain possession of the ball, according to Head Coach Molly Jordon.
“The Academy had three very solid distributors that controlled the ball very well and spread out our defense,” Jordan added. “We definitely allowed too many corner kicks in the game at the end line.”
In the second half, the Panthers played much better. “We wanted the ball more,” Jordan noted, “and we linked passes and tackled well. We still had difficulty playing team defense and they scored three goals in the second half.”
The Panthers were especially by hurt by Alicia Ramirez from The Academy.
“It was a tough match, but a good challenge for our team,” Jordan said. “The Academy continues to be undefeated in our league and they represent good quality overall team play.”
Middle Park rebounded with a good game against Sheridan, winning, 3-0. The Lady Panthers had great ball movement and the overall communication on the field was good, Jordan said. “Our players did a great job of spreading their defense across the field by sending the balls to the corner flags and crossing them back into the center eight-yard line,” Jordan noted. “Sheridan had an absolutely fantastic goalie that completely challenged our team to finish with quality shots that were in the four corners of the net, rather than at her. It was a good experience and challenge for our team to ensure that we are prepared for possible competitors that have a
Jordan said that Hannah Levett, Lisa Hobbs and Kaylee Findley played well for Middle Park.
The heartbreaker over the past couple of weeks for Middle Park was the 3-2 to loss to Bennett on April 17 in the first home game for the Lady Panthers.
“We absolutely dominated nearly 85-90 percent of the game, but could not finish in the goal,” Jordan said. “Of the 17 shots on goal, only two went in. We played overall very well distributing the ball together as a team with thought and intent. However, we struggled with finishing the 17 shots we took into the corners of the net to ensure a possible score.”
Jordan said the team struggled again with team defense as Bennett scored on three fast breaks where one player took on several players from Middle Park and scored. The last 20 minutes of the game were the most exciting and exhibited the best collective team play of the year, Jordan said.
“We played with tenacity, aggressiveness to open balls, purposeful passing and strategic shooting,” Jordan said. “The only bummer was we ran out of time. We definitely learned as a team that it is absolutely critical to not take a slightly weaker team for granted, to not take shots on goal casually and that it is necessary to play hard the entire 80 minutes of the game. We have won every game since then and have focused as a team on playing hard 80 minutes and finishing in the four corners of the net.
The next game was against Lake County in Leadville and the Lady Panthers won, 3-0.
“We had great ball movement and we effectively used the drop pass to the defensive line in order to switch the field and send the ball up line,” Jordan said. “We still struggled a bit with finishing with quality shots in the corners, but were able to dominate possession of the game and get several in the net for a good win against a decent team.
The Lady Panthers continued to roll with another road win against the Clear Creek Goldiggers, 5-3.
“It was a tough match against a developing program with two very solid attackers that had decent ball skills, speed and overall distribution of the ball,” Jordan said. “We were a bit startled by their overall aggressiveness to the ball and with their passing game.
“Luckily, our team responded immediately to change and was able to shift the momentum from Clear Creek back to Middle Park,” she added.
The Lady Panthers were able to regroup and started to play with more pace, purpose and passion. Middle Park was able to shut down Clear Creek in the second half and score three goals of its own.
Levett scored all five goals and, more importantly to her coach, she shot five of her nine shots to the four corners of the net. Cindy Hobbs changed positions to mark Hannah Wescott, the fastest and most skilled player from Clear Creek. “She did an exceptional job,” Jordan said. “She forced her wide, jockeyed with her for position and created enough pressure to force her out of bounds most of the time. That was critical to shutting her down.”
Middle Park has three home games on the schedule. On May 3, Pinnacle comes to town for a 4 p.m. varsity-only contest. Jefferson High School is scheduled to visit on May 4 for junior varsity and varsity games. The first game is set for 4 p.m. Jefferson Academy visits Granby on May 5 with junior varsity and varsity games. The first game is set for a 4 p.m. start.
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