Soccer season ends in playoff defeat to Front Range
Sky-Hi News Sports Correspondent
The soccer season for the Middle Park Panthers ended last Wednesday in the first round of the post-season playoffs to Front Range Christian in Littleton.
Front Range was ranked 10th in the playoffs with the Middle Park Panthers coming into the game as the 23rd seed.
“Though we lost 9-1, it does not even possibly represent excellent moments and overall grit, determination and tenacity from the entire team for the entire 80 minutes,” Coach Molly Jordan said.
“The best highlights were the first 30 minutes of the match where our team competed well against Front Range, a league-winning team. We aggressively matched them defensively, won many fifty-fifty battles and created some great offensive attacks”
The only goal for the Panthers, Jordan said, started with a strong defensive effort in bringing the ball upfield. Hannah Levett shot from nearly 35 yards away and found the upper right-hand corner of the net.
“From that distance, the lift on the ball and angle into the net is very difficult,” Jordan said. “It was one of the most beautiful long range shots of the season.”
The Panthers were bit by an injury bug that made the match more difficult. Starting goalie Haley Nordin was unable to play and Kaylee Findley was asked to step in to play a position she hadn’t been in for more than a year.
Coach Jordan said she then needed some offensive attack from Findley and inserted her junior varsity starter in the midst of a varsity playoff contest.
“She played well amidst the onslaught of difficult pressure and shots on goal,” Jordan said. “It was a great opportunity for her to see a quicker pace of play.”
Further making it difficult for the Lady Panthers was that Levett suffered an ankle injury that took her out of the game.
“She was a strong player in the game, creating counterattacks, clearing the ball with power and kicking our goal kicks to the half,” Jordan said. “With a couple of challenges, our players still fought for every open ball, played solid defense and attempted to create offensive attack to the wings. We played 80 minutes and never let down. Their solid overall effort exemplified their overall enthusiasm for the season and eagerness to compete.”
The Panthers finished the season with a record of 9-4-2 and a Frontier League record of 6-2-2, which was good for third place in the league.
Receiving league honors were Levett and Cindy Hobbs who were First Team All-Frontier League, Jackie Coucke and Kylie Delphia who were named to the second team and Gabriele Blahnik, who earned honorable mention honors.
In looking ahead to next year, Jordan said she is excited about six strong junior players who she expects back along with some great freshman and sophomore talent. “I believe we will continue to compete for the league championship,” Jordan said. “I expect our program to grow and develop into a formidable competitor both in the Frontier League and in the postseason.”
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