Mountains

The heartbreak soccer kids

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Gabby Wolf (2) and a Montrose soccer player battle for the ball at Johnson Field. The Lady Panthers lost, 1-0.

By Bobby Abplanalp Journal staff writer

They play with feet on the soccer field.

The Lady Panthers played with heart Friday and Saturday and laid it all out at Johnson Field.

In two 80-minute battles, the results were the same - heartbreaking. Montezuma-Cortez High School lost 1-0 to Montrose and fell 1-0 to Grand Junction Central.

"We fought hard in both games," M-CHS coach Nate Ross said. "Against Montrose, we didn't play well. Offensively, we were out of rhythm, until spurts here and there in the second half."

Now sitting at 3-6-2, 0-5-2 5A/4A Southwestern League, the Lady Panthers are seeing their playoffs hopes slip away.

Two wins at home this week against 4A schools Durango and Palisade become "must wins."

"I think the girls are mature enough to know they have to put this behind them," Ross said. "This second half (against Central), I think we'll translate that into our games against Durango and Palisade coming up."

On Friday, M-CHS and Montrose (8-3, 6-1) played a scoreless, but entertaining first half. Each team had various scoring opportunities. Strong goalkeeping kept the match knotted at 0 and tempers flared between the two rivals.

"I don't think we played our game," M-CHS junior Kenna Tarr said. "I do think mentally some things Montrose would do to us would kind of get in our heads. We would then take cheap shots at them and give them the penalty shots. We just beat ourselves."

In the 56th minute, Stephanie Rowan's shot was blocked by Lady Panthers' goalkeeper Brianna Funk.

However, the ball ricocheted off of Funk and was headed toward the net. Rowan was Johnny-on-the-spot and tipped the ball in for the game's only score.

Allison Porter had a chance to tie the match in the 79th minute. But her penalty kick sailed over the goal from 35-feet out.

On Saturday, the Central Warriors scored the match's lone goal in similar freakish fashion.

M-CHS goalie Danielle Waltman blocked a Central shot. But off the deflection, Lanie Ferguson slipped the ball past Waltman into the right corner of the net in the 33rd minute. It was the only goal Waltman allowed in both games.

Gabby Wolf, Tarr and Elana Bernholtz all had shots on goal in the second half. The Lady Panthers just weren't able to convert.

"This was probably one of our better games this season," Tarr said. "We just couldn't make it click (offensively). Sometimes you just can't put a shot in. Sometimes they'll get lucky and get a shot off. The better team just loses sometimes."

M-CHS gets back at it today at Johnson Field versus rival Durango at 5 p.m.

"It's going to be a big one," Ross said. "It's going to be fun. It's going to be a good venue and I think the girls are going to be pumped up about it."

bobbya@cortezjournal.com.

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