Lady Panthers pounce on Wildcats


Katie Linkner

Sophomore Sara Evans dribbles the ball toward the goal. Evans had one goal and one assist in the game against Whitewater. The Lady Panthers shut out the Wildcats 4-0 improving their region record to 2-0.

Jenna Sanders, Sports Editor

The Starr’s Mill varsity girls’ soccer team shut out Whitewater 4-0 in an offense-heavy, aggressive game. With this victory, the Lady Panthers remain undefeated in the region with a record of 2-0.

We have two injuries, so we just wanted to play for the people who couldn’t play.

— junior Quin Nowicki

Sophomore Sophia Bernardi led the Mill with two goals on the night. Following close behind was junior Quin Nowicki and sophomore Sara Evans with one goal each. Sophomore Darby Olive led the team with two assists, while Evans and junior Chloe Spradlin had one each.

“I think we all played well,” Nowicki said. “We all just played together and played for each other. We have two injuries, so we just wanted to play for the people who couldn’t play.”

Ball control was key during the first half, with both teams attempting a quick run for the goal whenever they had possession. The Panthers were the most successful with these runs and played a mostly striking half. Communication ran the Lady Panther offense, so much so that it could be heard from the stands.

In the 22nd minute of the game, Nowicki scored the first goal of the night. Evans passed the ball to a perfectly open Nowicki within the box, so that she could hit the net. After the first goal, the Panther energy was amped up, and they started attacking more. In the very last minute of the half, Nowicki attempted to recreate her success but ended up hitting the post. This sent the game into halftime with a 1-0 score favoring the Mill.

Katie Linkner
Junior Quin Nowicki takes the ball away from an opposing Wildcat. The Mill’s only goal for the first half was Nowicki’s, sending the game into half time with a score of 1-0.

“I thought we kinda started not with nerves, but too much energy,” head coach John Bowen said. “So it was just little silly things like too much on the pass, too little on the pass. The longer the game went, the more we settled down and found a rhythm that we could play.”

Four minutes into the first half, Spradlin had a shot on goal, which set the pace for the rest of the half. Five minutes later, Evans attempted to score, but the shot was blocked by the Wildcat keeper. However, the keeper hit the ball directly to Bernardi who tapped the ball directly into the net.

Bernardi followed up that goal with her second successful shot of the night in the 52nd minute of the game. Whitewater’s keeper attempted to catch the ball but ended up letting it fall into the goal, making the score 3-0. Evans scored the last shot of the night in the 72nd minute. Spradlin had a shot on goal that had just missed, and Evans backed it up by kicking the ball past the keeper.

Whitewater was ready to attack after Evans scored, and sophomore Jacqueline Reardon was forced to make a quick save, sending the ball over the top post. Over the last five minutes of the game, the Lady Panthers were attempting to hold the ball, in hopes to not allow the Wildcats another shot on goal.

Nowicki held the ball the last minute, while a Whitewater defender attempted to get the ball several times. The buzzer went off with the ball in Nowicki’s possession, ending the game with a score of 4-0.

“[The game is] kinda like puzzle pieces,” Spradlin said. “Just putting each puzzle together and then once we, hopefully, get the full puzzle, we’ll be state champions.”

The Lady Panthers now have a 7-2 record overall and a 2-0 region record heading into their next game at 6 p.m. on March 12 at home. On senior night, Starr’s Mill will face Jonesboro (3-3).