Freshman Zoey Stellman saves Panthers’ shot at Final Four


Jenna Sanders

Lady Panthers hold up four fingers signifying the team advancing to the AAAAA Final Four after their 1-1 (6-5) victory over Chamblee. The Mill plays intercounty rival Whitewater at home tomorrow at 6 p.m. for a shot at the state championship. In the last matchup against Whitewater, Starr’s Mill defeated the Wildcats in penalty kicks.

Jenna Sanders, Sports co-Editor

Last Friday, Starr’s Mill, the No. 2 seed from Region 3-AAAAA, faced the No. 1 seed Chamblee out of Region 5-AAAAA region. In a nail-biter, the Lady Panthers and the Bulldogs went into penalty kicks for overtime, with the Mill winning 6-5.

The one regulation goal for the Mill came from freshman Sara Evans. In the second half, and in penalty kicks, the person who saved the Panthers was freshman keeper Zoey Stellman.

“They played the lights out tonight,” head coach John Bowen said. “Everybody was focusing on what they were doing, and we were thinking not about what we need but what our teammate needs.”

The first half of the game started off with back and forth possessions between Chamblee and the Mill. The Lady Panthers were aggressive but could not keep up with Chamblee.

They played the lights out tonight…Everybody was focusing on what they were doing.

— head coach John Bowen

Chamblee scored the first goal of the night in the 28th minute. The Bulldogs scored off of a PK that pulled junior keeper Abby Weaver out of the goal.

The next 12 minutes would consist of Starr’s Mill attempting to catch up without success. Chamblee took a 1-0 lead into halftime.

“In the second half, we picked up the tempo and we just got our goal within the first ten minutes,” Evans said. “We were able to keep up the defense and the high intensity to finish the game out.”

At the half, the Mill had a keeper switch with Stellman stepping in the goal. Stellman provided Starr’s Mill with numerous saves that prevented Chamblee from winning in regulation. The second half granted the Panthers with more success when Evans scored in the 44th minute of the game.

The rest of the half consisted of the Bulldogs running offensive plays with the Lady Panthers chasing after them. The 80 minutes of regulation ended with Starr’s Mill and Chamblee tied 1-1.

Chamblee dominated the first five minutes of overtime, and all of the Panther offensive runs were stopped by the keeper. However, neither team was able to score.

It just feels good [to make those saves].

— freshman Zoey Stellman

The second five minutes of overtime was about the same as the first. In the last minute, the Mill almost scored by pulling the keeper out of the goal but could not get the ball into the goal, sending the game into penalty kicks.

“It just feels good [to make those saves],” Stellman said. “I get to be with the team, [and] you can’t let them down.”

In penalty kicks, the Mill and Chamblee both kept hitting the net until the fourth PK where both teams missed. Starr’s Mill ended up winning the game with an impressive save from Stellman.

The Lady Panthers earned the right to play in the Final Four at home against Whitewater, the No. 3 seed from Region 3-AAAAA. When these two teams met in the regular season, Starr’s Mill won in penalty kicks.

The boys’ team traveled to Carrollton Saturday night and defeated them in PKs 8-7. The boys will play against Johnson from Gainesville in the second half of a Tuesday night double-header.

The girls’ match is set to kick off at 5:30 p.m., with the boys’ match following at 7:30 p.m.