When the Litchfield Panthers girls soccer team hit the road on Monday, May 24, to take on the Roxana Shells, it looked like a highly competitive contest was set to take place.
The game featured the top two teams in the South Central Conference (SCC) with the Shells atop at one, and the Panthers at two. After Roxana took a 6-0 lead in the first 25 minutes of the game, this proved not to be the case, as the game ended 7-1 with Roxana on top.
The big goal deficit for the Panthers did not come due to a lack of opportunity, as Litchfield was able to create some good looks on offense. Senior forward Maddie Diamond had a pair of shots saved by the Roxana goalkeeper in the first 15 minutes of play.
Sophomore Olivia Mitchell also had a good shot near the top of the box blocked by a defender, before having a shot from deep saved by the keeper later in the half.
Senior attacker Izzy Ray had the best opportunity for the Panthers in the first half when she made a long run down the right sideline with the ball. Ray noticed the Shells keeper was standing off her goal line and lofted a ball from near the sideline towards the net that went over the goalie’s head and clanked off the post and out of harms way.
For Roxana, their offensive focus was all about the counter attack, which they utilized early and often. The Shells defense and midfield seemed to welcome the Panther attack, putting seven midfielders and defenders near the edge of their box to absorb the pressure, while keeping three attackers standing with their heels on the half line, waiting for the through ball.
As soon as Litchfield lost possession, the Shells were quick to find their forwards and it was off to the races from there.
Freshman Reagan Lynn was the first to score for Roxana just five minutes into the contest, after making a run on the counter attack. Lynn found some space and put her left foot through the ball for the early 1-0 lead.
Sophomore Kendall Kamp was next to score after making a run on the counter attack. Kamp slotted her first goal 12 minutes in to make things 2-0. Kamp dominated in the Roxana attacking third and would go on to score two more times to complete the hat trick and raise her tally to 27 goals on the season.
Senior Olivia Mouser also scored, as the defense made a stop and quickly found Mouser up the field.
Mouser took a shot that was saved by the Litchfield keeper before gathering the rebound and making good on the second chance. Fellow senior Macie Lucas found the back of the net after making a long run from midfield before receiving a pass from her teammate and burying the ball.
The final Shell goal of the day came from freshman Kinsley Mouser with 15 minutes left in the first half of play.
Litchfield’s lone goal of the day came from senior midfielder Karly Kruse, after an incredible run up the field. Kruse received the ball from a Panther teammate on the half line before turning and running the full length of the half draped in Roxana defenders. Kruse put a nice move on the defense to cut in, before putting a shot on net that found the corner to put Litchfield on the scoreboard.
With the win Roxana pushes their record up to 12-1-2, and a perfect 6-0 in the SCC. Litchfield falls to 7-3 on the season and 5-2 in SCC play. Litchfield hopes to bounce back as they return home Thursday, May 27, to take on Southwestern.