Panthers' shut-out wins home tournament
May 8—The Creston soccer teams hosted their annual tournament Saturday morning where the boys team came away with a victory after not allowing any goals all day.
"Today's always fun," Coach Chad Malmanger said. "Getting a win on your home field in front of the home fans is always fun. The kids have been working hard. The schedule doesn't reflect how hard they've been working, but it's nice to get the home win on our tournament."
Playing in the boys tournament were Panorama, West Central Valley and Clarke.
The games were largely defensive, only three goals scored in the tournament.
Creston (3-11) began facing Panorama (5-5). Neither team was able to find a goal for most of the game. With under five minutes left, it looked as though the game could go to a shoot out.
Jack Walters took a shot at the goal with four minutes left, but it was deflected. McCoy Haines used the commotion to sink the ball into the net, giving the Panthers their first lead.
"It's nice to get a win on these tight games," Malmanger said. "It's been difficult for us."
Panorama couldn't repeat the goal, sending Creston to the finals to face West Central Valley (11-3), who had defeated Clarke (3-5) 1-0.
In the first half of the bout with the Wildcats, it didn't look as though the Panthers were playing a team with nearly quadruple the wins as them this year.
The Panthers largely kept possession of the ball and played aggressively throughout.
With 12 seconds left in the first half, Dillon Starlin launched a corner kick to the goal. In the chaos, the defenders were unable to stop the goal.
"That was dynamite too," Malmanger said. "It's great to get some of these nice situations to go our way."
Though the team could have just rode out the last few seconds of the game, Malmanger said their mantra is to play until the end. "If that goal comes in the last 12 seconds of the half, we'll take a goal anytime we can get one," he said.
Creston sophomore goalie Josh Schaefer logged numerous saves, including one on penalty kick in the second half.
"It felt really good," Schaefer said. "We've been working hard in practice the whole week, and we've finally been able to play the way we should."
Though the Wildcats regained possession of the ball for much of the second half, the Panthers defense wouldn't let up a goal, giving Creston the 1-0 victory.
"Josh is really stepping up," Malmanger said. "He's given up quite a few goals this season. I would say it's a very good learning experience for him to pitch the two shut outs that he has today."
One thing Malmanger tries to instill in the players is playing to win, not playing to not lose.
"It's tough when you're trying to secure a win not to run around and try to kick the ball to the back of the net," Malmanger said. "It just showed a lot of resiliency today with our kids, and I'm really appreciative of that."
Substate pairings will be released today.
After regulation ended at 0-0, the Creston/Nodaway Valley Panthers (1-11) fell in a shoot-out against the Greene County Rams (0-8).
Nodaway Valley senior Hope Kading began the shoot-out for the Panthers with a successful shot past the goalie to put Creston up 1-0. Panthers goalie Keyana Peterson couldn't stop the first Rams goal, tying the score.
Creston's Lydia Goins also sunk her shot to regain the 2-1 lead. Peterson caught the next attempt, keeping the lead.
Zoe Ralston of Creston scored on her attempt, making the score 3-1. The next ball passed Peterson to narrow the gap 3-2.
Danica Pokorny of Creston kicked the ball too hard, sending it soaring over the goal. Greene County's next goal tied the score at 3.
MaKenzie Baker's shot was low, but went wide left to miss the goal. The ball was in the Rams' court to make the last shot for the win.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, the Rams sunk the goal, sending them to the finals to face the Panorama Panthers (11-2) who defeated them 10-0.
The Panthers game against Chariton scheduled for Tuesday has been cancelled due to a scheduling conflict for the Chargers.