Playing at state for the first time since 2017 the Powell Panther girls’ soccer team gained valuable experience for a bright future despite falling just short of the team’s first ever …
Playing at state for the first time since 2017 the Powell Panther girls’ soccer team gained valuable experience for a bright future despite falling just short of the team’s first ever trophy at state. The Panthers fell to Buffalo in a shootout 3-1, defeated Mountain View 3-2 and lost to Douglas in the consolation championship 6-3.
BUFFALO 3 (3), Powell 3 (1)
A bright and early contest was the reward for the 3A West No. 2-seeded Panthers (9-7) and the 3A East No. 3-seeded Bison (8-7).
Buffalo got things started early, finding the back of the net to make it 1-0 inside the first three minutes of the game.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, defensive midfielder Coy Erickson suffered an injury in those three minutes that limited her mobility for a majority of the weekend.
“Coy getting hurt early in that first game definitely contributed to some of our struggles in the middle of the field,” coach Danny Agee said. “She was in a lot of pain and movement was difficult for her and that created some imbalance in other areas of the field.”
Powell needed an answer early, getting a goal from Ivy Agee 12 minutes in to tie the game 1-1.
Both teams continued to battle throughout the first half, with the Panthers regrouping despite the limited mobility of Erickson and the unavailability of Emma Johnson both offensively and defensively.
In the second half Buffalo continued to attack down the middle, producing results early and often.
The Bison got a goal with 22 minutes left, and scored once again on a direct attack with 11 minutes left — appearing to put away the Panthers with a 3-1 deficit late in the match.
Powell did not go away.
Agee scored a free kick just a minute later, and she then found the equalizer with four minutes left to complete her hat trick.
After completing the comeback the Panthers and Bison went into extra time, where both teams had opportunities to win.
“Unfortunately, we had some extenuating circumstances that required us to move things around in the middle, and we created a couple holes that Buffalo was able to exploit,” coach Agee said. “They scored early, but we got it figured out and shut them down later in the game and dominated the overtime portion of play.”
Neither team was able to find a winner in the extra 20 minutes, sending the contest to shots from the mark.
This was the third shootout of the season for the Panthers, as Agee decided to switch Erickson into net for the second time.
Buffalo was up first and found the back of the net.
Johnson, who did not play during the game but was dressed out and available for the shootout, stepped up and made her shot.
However, she went too early and was forced to do a retake, which went high and the Panthers trailed 1-0 after the first round.
Buffalo scored again, and Sammi Rivas stepped up to take the second penalty. Her shot was off and the Panthers trailed 2-0.
Buffalo missed its third shot, and Kenna Cannon stepped up and cut the deficit down to 2-1.
The Bison scored in the fourth round, and Erickson’s shot was saved to give Buffalo the 3-1 victory.
POWELL 3, MOUNTAIN VIEW 2
The loss sent the Panthers down to the consolation bracket, and a matchup for the third time this season with the Mountain View Buffalos (7-8) — with the Panthers seeking a season sweep.
An end-to-end game created opportunities for both teams, but neither team found the back of the net for most of the first half.
Mountain View got on the board first, with a strong finish from a crossed ball sneaking just inside the near post to give the Buffalos a 1-0 lead heading into halftime.
Powell quickly answered early in the second half, with Agee scoring to make it 1-1.
The Panthers then took the lead 11 minutes into the second half through an unlikely scenario.
Patricia Christensen had been causing havoc among the Buffalos’ back line throughout the game, and it paid off. She stole a goal kick, and rifled a shot into the back of the net to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead.
Powell continued to attack but was unable to extend the lead throughout the second half.
Mountain View found an equalizer with 10 minutes left, when a long range effort snuck just over the outstretched hand of Jaedyn Hampton to tie the game 2-2.
The game appeared to be heading to extra time once again, but the Panthers found a goal late.
Christensen and Agee created havoc in the Buffalos’ 6-yard box, and were able to sneak a bouncing ball into the back of the net to make it 3-2 in favor of the Panthers.
“Patricia came up huge as a center forward in the second game, scoring a goal and contributing to the winning goal late in the game,” coach Agee said. “Her work rate was top notch the entire game.”
That final goal gave Powell the victory, and the first state tournament victory for the Panthers since a victory a decade earlier in 2013 against Torrington, which was also in the consolation semifinals.
DOUGLAS 6, POWELL 3
After the win Friday the Panthers earned a third day at the state tournament for the second time ever, matching up with Douglas in the consolation final.
Douglas came out with a purpose, peppering the Powell goal, which Erickson slid into due to her injuries.
The Bearcats scored one 11 minutes in, and another just three minutes later to make it 2-0 early.
Douglas continued to attack, adding two more just over midway through the half and putting Powell down 4-0.
Christensen swapped into goal to replace Erickson, who switched into the field.
“I really didn’t want to put Coy in goal but we knew how much pain she was in and we were trying to minimize her running,” coach Agee said.
Douglas found one more before the intermission, sending the Panthers into the half down 5-0.
Powell came out with a stronger purpose in the second half, but was unable to find a goal until midway through.
However, once they got a goal, the Panthers scored in a hurry.
Agee scored two goals in two minutes on long runs that she tapped past the Bearcat keeper, and added a third within five minutes to quickly cut the deficit down to 5-3.
Unfortunately, Powell ran out of gas, and was unable to find the back of the net again before Douglas scored a sixth with 7:30 left to seal the victory.
“I was very pleased with the ladies in the second half of that game,” coach Agee said. “I felt we struggled to put it together in the first half and we talked about how when we look back on this game it was going to be how we responded to the adversity — that will mean more than a win or a loss.”
That loss ensured the Panthers will have to wait at least another year to win their first trophy at the state tournament, but the future remains bright for the Powell program.
That bright future is because nearly the entire roster is set to return, apart from Hampton in net, Rivas and Eliza Tyler in defense and Jordyn Dearcorn in the Powell attack.
The Panthers will return 51 of the 54 goals scored from this year’s team, the most scored in a season in the history of the program.
That, mixed with another strong incoming class from the Powell Middle School program, should see another year of growth for the Panthers in 2024.
“I think the focus is going to be the same,” coach Agee said. “We are going to try to build the technical and tactical skills of the group as a whole and draw in as many players as possible to help the program continue to grow. We are very happy to be able to coach some of the incoming eighth graders again as (assistant coach) Callee (Erickson) and I worked with them last year in middle school and they are a fun group.”