Panthers seeking consistency

M-CHS soccer team impressive in win versus Central but struggles in loss to Montrose

Cassidy Leonard heads the ball during a game against Grand Junction Central on April 4. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Cassidy Leonard heads the ball during a game against Grand Junction Central on April 4.

When the Montezuma-Cortez High School girls soccer team is clicking on all cylinders, they can beat any team in the Southwest League.

But consistency has been hard to come by, as evidenced by the Panthers’ up-and-down weekend.

Panthers impressive in Central win

Opening the weekend at home against Grand Junction Central on April 4, the Panthers played spectacularly, besting the Warriors, 4-3.

Controlling the ball throughout the first half, the Panthers scored their first goal of the game after Aubrey Lopez fired a sharp shot into the back of the net.

Unable to capitalize on several other opportunities however, the Panthers entered halftime with the score tied, 1-1.

Appearing disjointed to begin the second half, the Panthers fell behind 2-1 after Central’s Gabby Self sliced through the Panthers defense and scored.

Clearly woken up by Central’s goal however, the Panthers pushed the pace for 10 minutes before scoring on a corner kick. Keying the goal was the ability of Lopez to drive the ball to the back post, where it deflected off the leg of Madison Archuleta and into the back of the net.

“It kind of just ricocheted off my knee and went the right direction,” said Archuleta of the goal.

Determined to break the 2-2 tie, the Panthers struck again in the game’s 63rd minute after Gabriella Wolf channeled her inner David Beckham and fired home a bending free kick from 40 yards out.

The Panthers scored again not long after, extending their lead to 4-2 after Kenna Tarr dribbled down the middle and passed to Archuleta, who fired her second goal of the game into the right corner of the net.

Although Central cut the Panthers’ lead to 4-3 in the 83rd minute, the Panthers’ defense hung tough during the final seven minutes to secure the win.

“We played outstanding,” said Panthers’ head coach Nathan Ross. “Offensively and defensively, we had good balance.”

Panthers fall to Montrose

Missing many key players for an April 5 home matchup against Montrose, the Panthers struggled to find offense, losing a one-sided contest, 2-0.

Montrose scored itss first goal 13 minutes in on a long free kick by Grace Halbach.

Not long after, Montrose scored again after Panthers’ goalie Elizabeth Loschert failed so save a shot off the foot of Stephanie Rowan.

“Liz kind of bobbled that one,” said Ross. “That was an easy save that she usually makes.”

For the remainder of the contest, the Panthers’ defense played well, yet M-CHS was unable to mount an offensive attack.

“We’re still finding our spark, but once we do that, we’ll be really good,” said Panthers defender Miceal Allsup after the contest.

The Panthers, 1-4-2, will next play a road matchup against Bayfield on April 8.