The North Lamar Pantherettes entered Tuesday night’s Regional Quarterfinal against 12th-ranked Crandall looking to extend their historic playoff run. North Lamar had come off the pitch last Friday with the confidence of a team that had come together and was playing well in all phases of the game. However, they knew that they would be facing the toughest test of the season.
From the opening kickoff, Crandall made it clear that they had come to play utilizing a physically aggressive style. As the match started out, it became evident that the referee’s whistle was going to stay silent for most of the contact. Within the first ten minutes the Pantherettes settled in and began playing their style of soccer.
Shaina Brown (5) picked up where she left up with strong play in goal while her teammates on defense turned back every early attack by Crandall. While Katie Kilcrease (22), Daisy Rangel (6), Leslee Elliot (12) and Abby Lacey (4) continued to hold the line, the offensive tandem of Peyton Fleming (10), Madison Morrison (19), Lauren Howerton (9) and Savannah Moore (17) pushed the ball aggressively taking six shots on goal in the first half to Crandall’s five. The score remained tied for nearly 30 minutes of play until Crandall put in a header off a free kick deep in Pantherette territory to take a 1-0 lead with 11:10 left in the half.
Coming out of halftime, Crandall was quick to add to their lead with another goal on a breakaway shot that put them up 2-0 with 34:32 left in the match. North Lamar stepped up the attack with second-half shots on goal by Morrison, Fleming, Howerton, Rangel, Olivia Reader (13), Karlie Ewell (2) and Karlee Alexander (14). Every offensive attempt was shut down by the stifling defense and goalie for Crandall.
And with the sound of a siren, the Pantherettes’ season came to a close with a 2-0 loss to Crandall. For seniors Elliot and Maria Leyva (7), this game marked the end of their high school soccer career. For the rest of the team it marked the close of a chapter on a book full of promise for the future. With the majority of the team returning for the 2016 season, anticipation will be high. Thank you Coach Kirk, Coach Ewell and the entire team for making this a historic and memorable season.