Just a week ago the Panthers’ spirits were sent sky-high when they defeated the Cody Fillies for the first time in the PHS program’s history. But a tough weekend slate featured two of the most established and well-respected teams in the state.
Powell (4-7, 1-2 in the Northwest) was routed by Buffalo 6-1 on Friday and then fell 2-1 to Jackson Saturday morning. PHS head coach Isaac Reyesmejia said his team will waste no time dwelling on the defeats.
“You have to have short-term memory,” Reyesmejia said. “Take the bad things that come to you, work them out and then go back out there and continue to fight and continue to get better.”
The coach said his team, despite the two losses, played hard Friday and Saturday.
Reyesmejia hopes Saturday’s bounce-back performance, albeit in a loss against Jackson, was a sign of how his team can compete with anyone.
“I thought we did an outstanding job the way that we fought that game,” Reyesmejia said.
The Panthers admitted to their coach they grew despondent and quiet toward the end of the blowout versus Buffalo, but Reyesmejia noted the communication between his players improved greatly in the Jackson match.
“They’re starting to talk to each other a lot better,” he said. “I think we learned a lot about our team after that Jackson game.”
Jackson (4-4-1) opened the scoring on a 25-yard free kick in the game’s 12th minute. The shot was headed toward the center of the net but a slight curve fooled freshman goalkeeper Gabby Hirsch just enough to sneak into the back of the netting.
Powell didn’t wait long to respond.
The Panthers earned a corner of their own when Shelby Nicholson’s centering pass to junior Aimee Kawano in the 16th minute was sent out of bounds by a Jackson defender.
Kawano took the corner kick, which flew over the heads of Jackson’s defense on its way to junior Rebecca Pratt, who knocked the ball into the goal for her second score in three games.
The teams went into halftime tied 1-1, setting the second half up as tense 40-minute tilt.
And in a game in which neither squad wanted to budge, a misjudgment of mere inches would prove to be the difference.
The Broncs scored their game-winner on one of their least-threatening looking chances. A shot — that may not have been intended as such — that came from 30 yards out appeared to be heading wide of the goal and Hirsch stopped following the ball just a step or two too soon. Instead of scooping up the ball in stride near the post to her right, Hirsch watched as the slow-bouncer was caught on the inside of the netting.
Hirsch put her gloved hands over her face in disbelief as Jackson celebrated the 2-1 score in the 52nd minute.
It wasn’t yet over at that point, as the Panther offense still had time to generate an equalizer, but none of Powell’s chances materialized as the team struggled holding possession for more than one or two passes.
The rebound off a long shot eluded the Panthers in the 17th minute and the ensuing throw-in deep in the Jackson zone was cleared.
Kawano nearly made a miracle goal in the game’s 36th minute but her 40-yard try went just over the crossbar.
One minute later Powell took a free kick that bounced once in the box before the Jackson keeper got to it, bobbled it, and eventually secured it in the face of hungry Panthers.
The Panthers almost put Jackson in an early hole when a Nicholson’s 15-yard shot from the left seam bounced off the far post right to a Jackson player who quickly cleared it to midfield.
Powell had the benefit of an early lead against the Bison Friday afternoon, marking the fourth straight time the Panthers scored first.
Junior Aimee Kawano netted a goal in the game’s sixth minute to put Powell up 1-0 before the Panthers surrendered six straight to the Bison.
Coach Reyesmejia said Buffalo’s goals seemed to go in a little easier as the game slipped away from PHS.
“Mentally you get yourself out of the game and it becomes a little bit harder to fight and get back into it,” he said.
Buffalo (4-4) tied the game at 1-1 in the 16th minute, when a Bison player got in behind the Panther defense and was able to beat Hirsch from 10 yards out.
It was the first goal scored on Powell in nearly four full games, and broke Hirsch’s streak of three consecutive shutouts.
The Bison scored the game-winner in the 21st minute when a ball that was misplayed by Hirsch led to a corner kick that Buffalo was able to convert.
Ten minutes later another Bison player was able to beat the PHS back line and put a low shot past Hirsch and into the left side of the net.
Buffalo’s fourth goal — at the 34-minute mark — was its prettiest. A far cross from the right wing sailed through the PHS box and was redirected by a Bison who was camped out near the far post of the Panthers’ goal.
Buffalo goals in the 47th and 59th minutes buried a Panthers team that played much of its JV lineup in the game’s final minutes.
“It was just one of those games,” Reyesmejia said. “Everybody’s going to have a bad game. That was probably our bad game.”
The Panthers better hope it was, because the action continues today (Tuesday) when the Worland Warriors (7-5, 1-1) come into town for a Northwest Quadrant match.
Powell lost 3-2 to the Warriors April 4 in Worland.
“We went to their place and they defended their home court,” Reyesmejia said. “Now it’s time for us on our home court.”
The coach hopes the girls can rebound from the 0-2 weekend and send the Panther seniors off with a victory on senior night.
The Panthers take on Worland at 4 p.m. at Panther Stadium.
|PHS girls' soccer schedule|
|29||Star Valley|| 3-1 L
|4||Worland|| 3-2 L
|7||Cody|| 3-2 L
|11||Worland Invite|| 1 W, 1 L
|12||Worland Invite|| 2 Wins
|22||Cody|| 1-0 W
|25||Buffalo|| 6-1 L
|26||Jackson|| 2-1 L
|9||Star Valley||4 p.m.|
| Overall Record: 4-7; Conference: 1-2