Sacrifice

Starr’s Mill soccer sweeps Wildcats in varsity doubleheader

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Bre Kozusko

Junior Sara Evans looks to get the ball down the field. Evans scored both goals for the Lady Panthers and was the driving force on offense in the 2-1 win.

Both Panther soccer teams had their first big region test against Whitewater on Friday. The boys won a 1-0 defensive-minded game, while the girls won a 2-1 slugfest against the reigning AAAAA state runner-up.

Bre Kozusko
Junior Kenan Godfrey looks to get around a Wildcat defender. Defense was the priority for both teams in this game, but the Panthers were able to get a goal to win the game 1-0.

“This was a very key region win tonight,” head coach Aaron Buck said. “I was very happy with the way the boys were so composed for the entire game.”

Junior Austen Morris scored the sole goal of the game for the Panthers. Defensively, junior goalie Andrew Cole made five saves to keep the Wildcats off the scoreboard.

Starr’s Mill gained momentum early to begin the half, keeping the ball on Whitewater’s side of the field. After junior keeper Kai Blanchard stopped three shots on goal, both teams went into a standstill. 

This continued until the 13th minute when Morris sailed a high kick over Blanchard for a goal. After that goal, both teams went into another standstill, keeping the score 1-0 Panthers.

“This win was pretty good,” Cole said. “We did very well on both sides of the ball, especially on defense.”

Bre Kozusko
Junior Andrew Cole boots the ball down the field. Cole played a tremendous game at goal, saving five shots on goal to record a shutout.

Defense dominated the rest of the second half, with both Cole and Blanchard making key saves and no one gaining an upper hand.The Panthers held on to win the game 1-0.

“I thought we could’ve scored a few more goals,” junior Kenan Godfrey said. “Overall we played an amazing game.”

Whitewater now has a 5-1-2 record, with a 1-1 region record. They host Riverdale on March 10. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

Starr’s Mill now has a 7-2 record, with a 3-0 region record. They return to Panther Stadium on March 10 to take on Veterans. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. 

Following the boys’ win, the Lady Panthers took on the reigning state runner-up Lady Wildcats and made a big statement.

“It’s always a good feeling to win a region game,” head coach John Bowen said. “We’re starting to build momentum, and this is a good sign.”

This win definitely builds confidence for us for the rest of the season.”

— junior Sofia Varmeziar

Junior Sara Evans scored both goals for the Panthers, with senior Chloe Spradlin and freshman Sasha Stanphill each having one assist. On defense, freshman Addison Smith saved four shots and only allowed one goal courtesy of Wildcat freshman Emily Agi.

Momentum went back and forth to start the first half as both teams tried to take an advantage. Starr’s Mill took over in the 22nd minute when Evans beat every Wildcat defender en route to an easy goal that went right past the Wildcat keeper, making the score 1-0.

A standstill followed for the next 18 minutes, until Evans scored again with four minutes left to make the score 2-0 at halftime.

Bre Kozusko
Senior Chloe Spradlin directs her teammates before she kicks the ball down the field. Spradlin and the rest of the Lady Panther defense held the Wildcats to just one goal. She also had one assist to junior Sara Evans.

“We were all in it to win it,” junior Sofia Varmeziar said. “This win definitely builds confidence for us for the rest of the season.”

Whitewater got on the scoreboard in the second half when Agi slipped a shot past Smith to decrease the lead to 2-1. However, the Lady Panthers upped their physicality after that, allowing no offense from the Wildcats for the rest of the game. This continued for the rest of the game, giving the Lady Panthers a 2-1 victory.

“The game wasn’t always gonna be pretty, but we got the job done,” Spradlin said. “We really put our bodies on the line to finish this game.”

The Lady Wildcats now have a 5-6 record, with a 1-1 region record. They host Riverdale on March 10. Kickoff is set for 5:55 p.m.

Starr’s Mill now has a 5-3-1 record, with a 3-0 region record. They return to Panther Stadium on March 10 to take on Veterans. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.