The Panther varsity squad came into their first matchup with Community desperate for a win. District losses to Princeton and Paris have the Panthers winless in district play. Although the two teams had faced each other in preseason matchups in previous years, this was the first time for them to face off as district opponents.
NL would give up an early goal to fall behind 1-0. From that point through the early part of the second half, the Panther defense played very well. Brice Loftin led the defensive effort with multiple saves over a 40 minute stretch of the game that lasted from the 10 minute mark of the 1st to the same point in the 2nd. Meanwhile, led by Kshatiz Basnet, Christian Stockton and Isaiah Lester the Panthers had multiple offensive opportunities but could not convert.
After falling behind 2-0 early in the 2nd half, Basnet would find pay dirt with a goal off the assist from Matt Meredith. This cut the lead to 2-1 but would unfortunately be the closest NL would get. As the game wore on, breakdowns on defense would give Community scoring opportunities and they capitalized, winning the match 5-1.
The loss has NL 0-3 in district play. The Panthers are overall a young team. Coach Aaron Welch stated "we are getting better and better at producing scoring chances each week...we just need someone to step up and start finishing these opportunities."
Earlier in the evening the JV boys lost to Community 4-2.
Meanwhile, an hour and a half away, the Pantherette varsity squad found themselves facing an inhospitable Community squad that was still stinging from the 2-0 shutout loss to Paris last week. Community would leave little to doubt, scoring at the 7, 15 and 24 minute marks in the first half. The lone bright spot came as Abbie Fischer scored on a kick from near midfield to cut the deficit to 4-1 with 10 minutes left in the 1st half. Jaycie Proctor would add a goal in the 2nd, but NL went on to lose 9-2.
The loss has the Pantherettes at 1-2 in district play. This Friday they will play in a rare varsity doubleheader versus Bonham with kickoff at 5:30. The boys game will follow at 7:00.
The Pantherette JV girls would provide the only win of the night prevailing with a 1-0 win off a goal by Sadi English.