Taking advantage of a Cody team that was still reeling from a 0-0 tie the day before, the Powell High School girls’ soccer team wasted no time getting on the board Saturday at Spike Vannoy Stadium in Cody. The Lady Panthers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the game’s opening minutes.
But once the Lady Fillies cleared the cobwebs from a Friday tie at Douglas, the rout was on. Cody (10-1-1, 5-0 in 3A West play) scored seven unanswered goals on the injury-laden Lady Panthers, taking the season sweep in decisive fashion. The loss dropped Powell to 2-7-1 on the season, 1-4 in 3A West conference play; it was the fifth straight loss for a team that’s watching its state tournament hopes slip away.
“That seems to be our season,” PHS head coach Jack Haire said of the loss. “Four times this year, we’ve been winning a game just to have it get away from us.”
Powell moved the ball well to begin the game, culminating in a nice shot in the sixth minute from Jordan Woodford to give the Lady Panthers a 1-0 lead.
“Michele Wagner had a beautiful cross and Jordan Woodford just popped the goal in,” Haire said. “That’s what we’ve been shooting to do: Drive deep into the box and make the keeper shift, then make a nice cross. When it’s done right, you have one or two players ready to walk it into the net because there’s nobody close by. And it worked in that instance.”
The euphoria of taking an early lead on the No. 1 team in the state was short-lived, however, as Cody settled in. The Fillies’ Torrie Schutzman tied the game just a few minutes later, opening the floodgates that resulted in a 5-1 lead at the break. Missing five players from its roster, including offensive threat Jaya Smith, the Lady Panthers were unable to keep up with their counterparts.
“We were down a few players, and that was impactful, especially for our defense,” Haire said. “We knew Cody was going to score anyway, so we figured we’d keep trying to score ourselves. We were hoping to add a second goal so that we could go into lock-down mode on defense, but that just didn’t happen.”
Cody ran the score to 7-1 with a pair of goals in the second half, though the Lady Panthers continued to fight.
“I’m proud of my girls for the hard work they put in. They never quit,” Haire said. “They really have a lot of heart. the communication is really starting to show through for us, especially on the pitch. The ball movement is improving as well. We just need to be able to score.”
With their postseason hopes dwindling rapidly, Haire said the team knows exactly what it needs to do to close the season on a high note.
“If we win three games, we’re in,” he said. “With five games left, it can happen.”
The Lady Panthers might have to do it without Smith, who’s been out due to concussion protocol since the Riverton game.
“Jaya [Smith] may be down for the season, and she would have played a huge part against Cody. So we just have to adjust,” Haire said. “She’s a player we definitely miss. If we can get there [to state], my guess is she’ll play. That’s what champions do.”
Powell hosts Worland (7-4, 4-2 in 3A West play) on Tuesday, a team that handed PHS a 5-1 loss earlier this month. Haire said the key to success will be to come out strong and leave it all on the field.
“We just need to get after them,” Haire said of the Lady Warriors. “We need to work the ball in close, and let our mids and our forwards do what I know they have the ability to do. We do that, we have a chance.”