‘Tough end to great season’ for MP girls’ soccer
Second-half woes sunk the Mt. Pleasant girls’ soccer team, which ended the year with a 9-1 regional loss on its home field against Burlington.
Seven of the Grayhounds’ goals came after halftime.
“It was a tough way to go out,” Coach Ed Chabal said. “As I told the girls, it was not real indicative of the season we had — we had a great season.”
The Panthers ended up 12-6 on the year — including eight shutout wins, they were ranked for the first time in school history, and they claimed their third straight conference title.
“The girls worked together so well — a lot of them have played together for four years,” Chabal said.
But Tuesday’s rainy and muddy Class 2A Region 8 semifinal brought their season to an end.
Burlington (7-7) moves on to play North Scott (11-7) in the regional championship at Eldridge on Monday.
The Panthers kept it close early in their match against the Grayhounds.
“We stuck with them in the first half,” Chabal said.
Burlington had two goals in the first 20 minutes of play, but with just over 15 minutes left on the clock, Mt. Pleasant’s Kathryn Chabal sent a direct kick from 25 yards out over the keeper’s hands and into the goal, putting the Panthers within one at halftime.
“I thought that would give us some momentum — and it did; it carried us into halftime,” Ed Chabal said.
However, after halftime, the Panthers hit some trouble.
The Grayhounds scored with more than 33 minutes left, and they added another just three minutes later to make it 4-1.
“When they got their third goal really early second half, then we started coming unraveled,” Chabal said.
The Grayhounds added another goal with 26:35 left to play, and scored four more in the 10 minutes following for the final score.
The relentless offense from a pair of Burlington freshmen — Elyse Huber and Paris Wallace, who combined to score all nine goals — was once again too much for Mt. Pleasant to handle.
Last time the Panthers met the Grayhounds, Burlington walked away with a 5-0 win: three goals were scored by Huber, two by Wallace.
“We knew that it was those two players that we really had to look out for, and they have quite a few players who are good at giving them the ball,” Chabal said. “They (Huber and Wallace) can outrun most teams, and so (Burlington’s) strategy is to give it to those two girls — and they work well together, too.”
The contest against Burlington was the final high school career match for 13 Panther seniors, and it was also the final match for Coach Chabal.
“I have mixed feelings (about leaving); my goal when I came on three years ago was to provide some stability for the program, and I think I accomplished that,” Chabal said.
Pending board approval, this year’s assistant coach, Brennan Williams — who is also a middle school teacher — will take over as head coach.