Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 26, 2018

Panther girls freeze out Columbus

Mt. Pleasant and Columbus/W-MU scoreless through OTs, Panthers win in penalties
Apr 03, 2018
Photo by: Andy Krutsinger Ayden Ross dives to save a shot during the penalty shootout.

By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News

 

It was a cold evening at East Lake Park on Monday night for the opening doubleheader for the Mt. Pleasant soccer season. Both teams played Columbus/Winfield-Mt. Union and the girls’ teams were first up, battling through two scoreless halves and two scoreless overtimes.

The Panthers and Wildcats had to settle their differences in penalty kicks, which proved to favor the Panthers. A near shutout performance from goalkeeper Ayden Ross, along with goals from Mary West and Kaela Welcher, aided MPCHS to a 2-1 shootout win.

Neither offense could find many openings in the first half. The Panthers had a couple of potential breakaways, including one long run from Welcher down the far sideline, but a speedy Wildcat defense cut off the vast majority of chances, and Mt. Pleasant had trouble getting shots on Columbus keeper Liana Sweezer.

The second half looked a lot like the first. The cold weather continued to stifle the two offenses and the teams continued their stalemate through 40 more minutes. Columbus was able to get one promising rush in the final 15 minutes, but Ross saved the potential go-ahead goal. At the end of regulation, the score remained 0-0.

The teams played two 10-minute overtimes, both of which were defensive struggles. The Panthers did have a corner kick at the end of the first overtime, but time ran out right as West struck the ball and the chance was stifled.

After the second overtime, the teams set up for penalty kicks to break the tie and find a winner.

Columbus/W-MU freshman Aaliyah Santos rocketed a shot into the left side of the net to begin the penalty kicks, but Welcher responded with a goal of her own and it was 1-1 after one round.

Ross saved a shot from Columbus/W-MU’s Jenessa Carpenter on the next round. West lasered in a shot to give Mt. Pleasant a 2-1 lead, and that’s where it would stay.

“The conditions weren’t exactly great today, by any means (and) the girls were able to push through it so I was really happy with their performance,” said head coach Brennan Williams after the win.

Ross was unfazed by the rest of Columbus’ shots, making a couple of falling saves to preserve the one-goal lead. After the game, Coach Williams said he was proud of his keeper’s performance.

“She did a great job, made a lot of good saves, did what she was supposed to do and executed it perfectly,” Williams said. “No complaints here.”

During the game, Mt. Pleasant players wore pink ribbons in their hair, which was a nod to Coach Williams. He and his wife are expecting their first child, a girl, in May.

“I thought it was really great, and a really special touch by them and really thoughtful,” Williams said. “My wife and I are very appreciative of them and their support as we get closer and closer to me being a dad for the first time.”

Mt. Pleasant moved to 1-0 with the win. They will head to Ottumwa for a game on Thursday, April 4, which is set to start at 7 p.m.

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