Panthers Soccer improves to 2-1 despite overtime heartbreaker
The Middle Park High School soccer team went 1-1 this weekend, improving their overall record to 2-1 after a heartbreaking overtime loss to Bishop Machebeuf on Thursday and a win against SkyView on Friday.
The Panthers suffered from poor field conditions after rain early in the game on Thursday, but looked like they were going to pull out a win after a goal by freshman Gustavo Galaviz put them on top 1-0. Sophomore Jaime Rios got the assist on the play.
Machebeuf came back to tie the game late, however, after a controversial call on goal freshman keeper Ethan Ruttenberg after a tackle allowed the Buffaloes to score on a penalty kick late in the second half. The Panthers would go on to lose the game in overtime.
“The goalie has a right to do that as long as you get a piece of the ball,” said Head Coach Dane Ruttenberg. “So to have that gifted to Machebeuf, and to give up not only the shutout, but the win was rough. But that’s sports, and that’s soccer.”
The Panthers had a tough second half, failing to control the ball and allowing Machebeuf to control possession on their side of the field.
“I think there was a little loss of confidence because of the conditions,” said Ruttenberg. “And because we so desperately wanted to preserve the lead. But as a result we were giving up a lot of possession and gave them a lot of scoring opportunities.”
Middle Park bounced back Friday though, securing a 1-0 victory at SkyView Academy.
A strange moment opened up the game, as just a minute and a half into the first period the school went into lockdown after a robbery nearby. The players were ushered into the school for about 15-20 minutes until play resumed. Coach Ruttenberg was the last to leave the field, assuring all his players were safely inside.
“It was a first for all of us,” said Ruttenberg. “But the players did a great job listening to the adults and getting to a safe place.”
Despite the win, the game was a grind. Ruttenberg said his players were physically tired from playing games on back-to-back days. Ruttenberg switched up the formation from the team’s typical 4-4-2 rotation to 4-3-3 so that his players wouldn’t have to run as much. The move was affective, but also put extra mental strain on the players who hadn’t sufficiently practiced the new rotation.
“It didn’t really work the way I had hoped,” said Ruttenberg. “It was just too much for them to take mentally. That being said, all the guys that were on the field hustled, and even though they weren’t at their best physically or mentally, they poured everything into it. And just made sure that there weren’t any goals scored.”
The defensive mentality paid off for Middle Park, as a goal scored by Nic Lawrence and assisted by Cesar Sandoval proved all the offense the Panthers would need to win the day.
The win also marked the first shutout of the year for the Panthers, and the first for keeper Ethan Ruttenberg.
The Middle Park junior varsity team went 2-0 this weekend beating Machebeuf 3-2 and SkyView 4-0. Vinny Triccoli scored twice on Thursday for the Panthers, and Alex Holinka also added a goal. Blake Kerber, Alex Holinka, Ricky Casals, and Dylan Christenson all scored on Friday.
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