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Worland girls top Panthers

Panther goalkeeper Sierra Baker dives for a ball during action at Cody earlier this season. It was Baker’s play in net last Friday that helped preserve a 2-1 Powell win over Pinedale. Panther goalkeeper Sierra Baker dives for a ball during action at Cody earlier this season. It was Baker’s play in net last Friday that helped preserve a 2-1 Powell win over Pinedale. Tribune photo by Randal Horobik

Team faces Cheyenne South on Saturday for a shot at state

The Powell Panthers will have to fight their way through 3A soccer newcomer Cheyenne South on Saturday if they wish to compete at the 2011 3A state soccer tournament. The pairing became official following Powell’s 3-1 loss at Worland on Tuesday.

“It was a really hard loss for the team,” Panther head coach Brett Hanlin said of the defeat. “Worland wasn’t outplaying us.”

Molly McCray scored a first-half goal for Powell as the two teams went to halftime deadlocked at a goal apiece. Worland added two more goals in the second half to secure the win.

The loss gives Powell’s girls a 3-10-1 regular-season record. The team dropped all four of its Northwest Quadrant games against Cody and Worland.

As a result, the Panthers will travel to Riverton on Saturday for a 2 p.m. regional tournament game against Cheyenne South. The winner of that contest will advance to face Buffalo in the opening round of the state tournament while the losing team will see its season come to an end.

In other recent soccer action for the Panther girls, Powell posted a 2-1 win at Pinedale last Friday. The team also dropped a 5-0 game at Jackson on Saturday.

At Pinedale, the Panther girls fell behind early after surrendering a penalty kick for a handball in the goal box.

Fortunes reversed themselves minutes later as Powell received its own penalty kick opportunity with McCray beating the Wranglers’ keeper to forge a 1-1 tie on the scoreboard.

“In the second half, we dominated play,” Hanlin said.

The Panthers scored the go-ahead goal midway through the period off a Taylor Swenson goal. Goalkeeper Sierra Baker made several athletic saves in the final minutes to preserve victory for the Panthers.

On Saturday, the Panthers faced a tough Jackson squad and perhaps even tougher weather conditions.

“It was rainy, windy and cold,” Hanlin said. “There was standing rain on the turf field that was making the ball either die or skip. It was very unpredictable.”

The Panthers played into the wind in the first half and were under relentless pressure from Jackson as a result. Powell surrendered four first-half goals as Jackson grabbed control on the scoreboard.

“In the second half, we had the wind and were able to do much better as a result,” Hanlin said. “We had many shots, but couldn’t seem to score.”

Jackson added a lone second-half score to give the game its final score.

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