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The Lady Panthers’ soccer team knotted the game 1-1 at halftime, but ultimately fell 4-1 to visiting Walton-Verona on Saturday night.
“Not the ending that we wanted, but I still felt like we did a good job with Walton-Verona,” Carroll head coach Greg Damron said. “…We kept the ball on our offensive end the majority of the game. They just had some great breakaways and some really good girls with a good foot and the good touch on the ball.”
The Lady Bearcats (5-13-1) scored right out of the gate on a set play. Damron said that instead of dropping the initial touch backwards to a midfielder, they pushed it to the outside and got a breakaway down the sidelines.
The Lady Panthers answered in the 27th minute of the first half when Kirsten Arvin’s hard kick sent the ball into the back of the net.
Walton-Verona threatened again in the waning minutes of the half, but the Carroll defense stood tall, taking a 1-1 tie into the break.
In the second half, the Lady Bearcats kicked a cross in front of the goal that looked like trouble, but Jordan Bailey was there to kick it away. With almost 10 minutes gone in the half, Lidia Jimenez was fouled inside the Walton-Verona box. Carley Hunter took the penalty kick, but the keeper jumped and made the save.
About five minutes later, the Lady Bearcats scored on a corner kick, 2-1. In the 23rd minute, the visitors kicked the ball ahead and into Carroll territory, allowing one of their players to run under it and have a one-on-one shot against keeper Nikki States. The last Walton-Verona goal came on a penalty kick after Carroll committed a foul of their own in the box.
Damron said he used the game to try some of his players in different positions, most significantly, pulling Hunter, a defender, and putting her in a forward spot. “She has a lot of power and accuracy, and we thought that might benefit us up top,” he said. “She did a fine job with it; it just was one she wasn’t used to.”
Damron also praised Kaylin Wallace on her defensive play, as well as States’ job in the goal.
Last year when these two teams met at Walton-Verona, Carroll came home with a huge shutout loss, Damron said. However when their JV teams played after that, they were more competitive. This gave the Lady Panthers the confidence that they could compete with the Lady Bearcats.
“W-V has always traditionally been one of the strong power houses in our conference,” he said. “… I think we did a good job. I think we did better than expected.”