By BLAKE FAITH
The Mt. Zion girls soccer team started its season 2-1 and won the consolation game of the 2022 St. Theresa Tournament. Both wins came after a penalty shootout that sophomore Denver Anderson faced a test in her first-three games of her high-school soccer career.
The Braves faced Pana in the consolation game of the tournament. In the game, the Braves controlled the ball and kept the ball in their attacking third most of the game. The Braves outshot the Panthers 21-6 with 14 of those shots being on-goal. The Panthers put one shot on-goal when Jillian Hamilton shot a ball outside the 18-yard line that Anderson easily saved.
“I thought we played pretty solid, we were moving the ball and we possessed the ball well.” Head coach Jonathon Moore said. “We just couldn’t find the back of the net and we had our opportunities and that will come with time. But, definitely just finishing was about the only part that wasn’t well for us.”
The game ended in a 0-0 draw at the end of regulation. Since it was a tournament game, both teams sent out their goalkeepers and five players that were on the field at the end of regulation to take a penalty shot.
Ayda Coleman stepped up for the first Penalty Shot for the Panthers. Anderson stood tall in the goal and Coleman shanked her shot to the far-right to go down one shot. Mackenzie Krieger stepped up to take the first shot for the Braves and nailed it to give them a 1-0 advantage.
“Denver came along nicely for never doing it before and she picked it up quickly and she’s done a nice job for us,” Coach Moore said. It’s impressive on her part to just go out here and she’s still learning the game and the position. And to be thrown out into penalty shootouts. She’s confident and athletic and I knew she would respond and she handled it well.”
The Panthers sent out Bayle Jewsbury next who hit her shot right off the crossbar. Katie Oliger made the Braves second penalty shot to give the Braves a 2-0 lead.
The Panthers sent out Claire Osborn who hit a shot off the left side-bar that gave the Braves the opportunity to win the game. Maddie Kendall stepped up to the spot for the Braves and nailed her penalty shot to win the game for the Braves.
In the Charleston game, the Braves finished in a 1-1 tie at the end of regulation. In the penalty shootout the Braves prevailed with a 4-1 win. In their season opener, the Braves fell to Mattoon 3-0.
The Braves started their season 2-1 and the consolation winners of the St. Theresa Tournament. This week the Braves will face Danville and Williamsville on the road and St. Theresa at home.
It gets us off to a good start, gets us off to a winning start,” Coach Moore said. Going through those penalty kicks puts them under pressure and how do you deal with that pressure and respond to it and they’ve responded nicely. And now we just start getting into the regular season games.”