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April 16, 2013 7:48 am

PHS girls nipped by co-No. 2 teams

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Jackson, Star Valley edge Powell

Paired against the state’s co-No. 2 ranked teams, the Powell Panthers turned in gritty performances on the way to a pair of narrow defeats. Powell fell 2-1 in regulation to Jackson on Friday, then took Star Valley to overtime before once again slipping by a 2-1 final goal count.

The two teams entered the week tied in the latest Wyopreps Class 3A poll.

“Jackson is very skilled and practiced at the passing game,” said Panther soccer coach Brett Hanlin, whose team slipped behind by a 2-0 count on the scoreboard.

Kim Murdock drew Powell closer by finishing a Haley Wichman feed to trim Jackson’s advantage to 2-1. Powell added some chances late in the contest, but was unable to find the equalizing goal.

“We had the better of it in the last 20 minutes,” said Hanlin.

The Panthers coach noted that Murdock’s goal is believed to be the first one ever scored by Powell in a varsity contest against Jackson.

“We would have to classify this as progress,” said Hanlin. “In the past, we’ve had close games, but never where we had a chance to score and win.”

Those chances continued on Saturday as the Panthers played host to Star Valley at Trapper West field. The venue change was prompted by Powell hosting a track meet on the same day at Panther Stadium.

Powell jumped on the scoreboard first with Wichman knocking home a pass from Murdock for a 1-0 first-half lead. Star Valley tied the contest just before intermission on a corner kick.

“Basically, it was a defensive error on our part,” Hanlin said of the goal.

The tie would persist throughout the second half, sending the Panthers to their second overtime contest in the past three games. Star Valley scored in the first half of the overtime period.

“Their leading scorer got a goal in the overtime. She’s the top goal scorer in the state,” said Hanlin. “Our defense did a great job of limiting her opportunities throughout the game.”

The Panthers had a pair of opportunities to throw the contest back to a deadlock before the end of overtime. Wichman played a beautiful cross into the box, but the Panthers couldn’t get a foot on the ball to send it toward the goal. Joelle Herzog had a breakaway chance late in the contest as well, but couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.

“I predict Star Valley will be ranked No. 1 when the new poll comes out,” said Hanlin. “We have one of the best 3A defenses in the state. With a few corrections, we will be ready to play against anyone at State.”

The losses drop Powell to 4-4-1 this season. The Panthers are scheduled to host Worland today (Tuesday) in a 4 p.m. contest.

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