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Lady Panthers Soccer Team overwhelmed by Hardaway

COLUMBUS – The Lady Panthers Soccer Team fought extremely hard, but lack of experience and an inability to possess the ball led to Hardaway’s 6-1 win over Americus-Sumter Wednesday, February 28, at the Woodruff Farm Soccer Complex in Columbus.

“I think my girls are putting in the effort knowing that they are just beginners,”, ASH Head Coach Joseph Oyeniya said. “They are playing for the first time since our regular players are not here. We have four players that are injured. One of them was involved in a car accident two days ago. One has a bad leg wound. We are asking these players to come and substitute. They are trying, but the skill has yet to be really developed.”

Of the ASH team that was on the pitch Wednesday night, six of the players had never played soccer before. For the whole game, Hardaway dominated the run of play. ASH struggled to mount an offensive attack. During the first half, they had difficulty crossing midfield as the Lady Hawks continued to press and create numerous chances to score. Hardaway’s first goal came early in the first half as Natalie Vasquez scored from 30 yards out to give Hardaway a 1-0 lead.

The Lady Hawks added a second goal by Monique Miller, giving Hardaway a 2-0 lead. The Lady Hawks continued to pressure Americus-Sumter’s back line. ASH Goalkeeper Julie Soto had to make several saves to keep her team in the game. However, a ray of hope came to the Lady Panthers when Serenity Bess received a pass from Vianna Salazar and put it past the Hardaway goalkeeper to cut the Lady Hawks’ lead to 2-1. Hardaway nearly scored again, but Soto was able to make a kick save to keep the score at 2-1. Soto was able to come up with some more saves. Near the latter part of the second half, ASH was whistled for a foul in the box and Hardaway was awarded a penalty kick. However, the kick was right to Soto, and the Lady Panthers were able to keep the score at 2-1 by halftime.

However, Hardaway resumed their onslaught in the second half as they dominated possession, creating numerous chances to score. Not even three minutes into the second half, the Lady Panthers were whistled for another foul in the box, awarding another penalty kick to Hardaway. However, the penalty sailed over the crossbar, and ASH dodged another bullet. However, Vasquez scored her second goal of the game to increase Hardaway’s lead to 3-1. A few minutes later, Vasquez completed her hat trick as she dribbled through the ASH defense and slotted the ball past Soto into the net to give Hardaway a 4-1 lead.

Americus-Sumter had a chance to score another goal midway through the second half. The Lady Panthers were awarded a free kick. Tamaya Evan-Hicks curled the ball over the Hardaway wall, but no one ran on to the ball to try to score, and the score remained 4-1 Hardaway. The Lady Hawks had another chance to score, but Soto came up with another save for the Lady Panthers. However, a few minutes later, Jocelyn Jackson scored the Lady Hawks’ fifth goal of the match by slotting the ball past Soto and into the net to give Hardaway a 5-1 lead. The Lady Hawks completed their scoring when Americus-Sumter was whistled for a foul in the box for the third time in the game. Hardaway had missed two previous penalty kicks, but Jackson’s penalty kick was successful, completing the scoring and giving Hardaway a 6-1 win.