Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Jun 23, 2018

Panthers knocked out at No. 3 Pella

Mt. Pleasant girls’ soccer season ends in regional final game
Jun 05, 2018
Photo by: Andy Krutsinger Mary West boots the ball downfield during Mt. Pleasant’s regional final at Pella on Monday evening.

By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News

 

PELLA — Monday’s regional final was indeed a tall task, both literally and figuratively, for the Mt. Pleasant girls’ soccer team. The Panthers struggled all day to contain a much taller Pella team, who controlled the majority of the game and knocked Mt. Pleasant out 7-0.

The two teams took the field with a state tournament berth on the line, and it was the Lady Dutch who came out firing early. Pella earned a corner kick in the first two minutes and made it 1-0 on a Grace Held header just 1:34 into the contest.

Mt. Pleasant’s defense locked in for the next 17 minutes, keeping Pella out of the net for the time-being. The Dutch weren’t short on chances, however.

Ayden Ross had to be active in net as the third-ranked Dutch rained in shots. Ross’ best save of the first half happened just over 15 minutes into the game. As the clock dipped below 25 minutes, Ross fell to her right, deflecting a hard Pella shot just enough to make the ball sputter wide left to keep the game at 1-0.

Despite the play of Ross in net, Pella was still able to add two more before halftime. A Madelyn Canfield header made it 2-0 with 21:48 remaining in the half and a goal from Ellen Howard stretched the lead to 3-0 with 16:39 showing on the clock.

Mt. Pleasant’s defense was able to keep it at 3-0 for the final 16 minutes of the first half, but the offense was kept quiet throughout the period and didn’t earn any real chances.

The Dutch nearly scored in the first 30 seconds of the second half but a nice play from Apryl Simon kept the ball out of harms way. A Pella forward snuck a shot by Ross, who charged out of the net. The ball clanked off the right post and settled in the box, but Simon out-hustled the rest of the Pella front line and cleared it out.

The Dutch had plenty of chances throughout the second half, however, and capitalized on four of them. Held had all four goals in the second half and the Dutch advanced to Des Moines, where they will play later this week.

“We tried to mix things up a bit and tried to match up defensively, but you can’t teach size,” Mt. Pleasant head coach Brennan Williams said after the game. “Overall, 7-0 looks pretty bad, but just last year it was 10-0 and we barely made it to halftime. They’re a top three-team for a reason.”

Despite the loss, Mt. Pleasant finished the year 12-6 with a Southeast Conference championship. The Panthers have no seniors on the team, which gives Williams confidence heading towards next season.

“If we focus big picture, we won conference this year and won double the games from the year before,” Coach Williams said. “We made big strides and we don’t have any seniors. It’s kind of absurd that we were able to do all that and win 12 games with only a handful of juniors and mostly freshmen and sophomores.”

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