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Ladies soccer falls to Gallatin

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By Kristin Beck

The Lady Panthers soccer team is still looking for that spark to help turn their season around and to make the game fun again. The girls lost, 3-1, at home Tuesday to district opponent Gallatin County.

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“I’ve got a group of girls right now that’s beating themselves up,” head coach Greg Damron said. “We came out a little more forceful this time, a little more intense. Intensity still isn’t where I need it to be, but we did come out with a little more intensity tonight.”

Damron said his team took a lot of shots on goal, but they all went straight into the arms of the goalie. “We made the goalie look absolutely amazing,” he said. “She didn’t really have to move; I don’t think she hit the ground one time.”

Gallatin County struck first in the opening half. Damron said the ball was bouncing around in front of the Carroll net, and a Lady Wildcat sneaked it through. The visitors almost scored a second goal in the half, but it was wiped away because of an offside’s penalty.

In the second half, senior Alex Skirvin showed her determination to punch in that elusive goal. In the seventh minute, she took off on a breakaway but shot a little early, right at the keeper. About 30 seconds later, she was on the move again, this time coming in a little bit closer, but it was again caught by the keeper. In the 10th minute, Skirvin and a Gallatin defender were battling for the ball inside the box, and she managed to take a shot. The keeper blocked it, dropped it, but then recovered it. About a minute later, Skirvin was back again, but this time she scored off a cross by junior Teresa Garrett to tie the game.

“Alex got a lot of good touches,” Damron said. “She had really good shots that just went directly into the goalie, but once we yelled at her to take it in a couple more steps, she did, but again, right at the goalie. But she had a lot of good touches tonight and played really, really well.”

But the Lady Wildcats weren’t going away. Senior Emily Marksberry scored on a through ball from her teammates in the 18th minute. About four minutes later, she took another through ball from teammate freshman Shelby Ackermann and took a shot on goal. Keeper Nicki States came out to challenge, dove and blocked it, but Marksberry rebounded and shot it into the open net.

Carroll continued to push the ball up the field, in particular Skirvin, Kelsey Wallace and Sierra Martinenz, but could not connect. The Lady Panthers played hard and didn’t give up, but they appeared to get winded in the final stretch. This was the girls’ third game in four days, with a fourth coming up the next night at Grant County. The ladies lost that night, 4-0.

Damron also complimented junior Satori Drake on her defensive efforts. “I’ve been having Satori mark some of the better players, just stay in their face, stay with them and try to deny them the ball, which she did good tonight with that.

“Miranda played well. She’s got a really good throw, puts the ball into play well. Her first touch is a little off, but it’s something we can work on. “

Carroll finally got its entire defensive line back together and healthy, a good sign for the Lady Panthers. “Carley Hunter, we’ve really been pushing the envelope with her because she does have a touch and a knowledge of the field and where she’s at,” the head coach said. “We’ve been trying her out on the front line to get that little bit of a touch coupled with a little bit of power. She took a lot of good shots tonight.”

Because it is not a conference or district game, Damron said he will use the Grant County match to give his younger players more experience on the varsity level, as well as allowing his starters to rest. It is a JV/varsity match, so they will be getting a lot of playing time, he said.

“The boys have struck a real good note where they’re playing to have fun and our girls have missed that so I’ve got to somehow get them back into having fun and maybe that will be the turning point that will get us back on track,” Damron said. “We’re a far better team than what we’re playing right now, just lost sight of the goal.”