By Andy Krutsinger,
Mt. Pleasant News
Thursday evening?s girls? soccer showdown between Mt. Pleasant and Ft. Madison was one of the biggest games in the Southeast Conference this year, and the Panthers were on the top of their game when it mattered most.
Mt. Pleasant took down Ft. Madison 3-0, handing the Hounds their third SEC loss of the year and getting a little revenge from a 2-1 defeat earlier this season.
Mt. Pleasant had the wind advantage in the first half, and they took full advantage of it early in the game. The Panthers controlled the game in the first 10 minutes and earned two early goals to put the Hounds in an early hole.
Sydney Doak had the first goal of the ballgame with 31:07 left in the first half. After an Elizabeth Litchfield shot bounced off the Ft. Madison keeper?s hands, Doak was able to chase it down and pull the keeper away from the net. She then sent a cross, which went off a Bloodhound defender and in.
Less than 30 seconds later, Kaela Welcher sent a high shot into the wind, which deflected off the keeper?s fingertips and in, giving Mt. Pleasant a 2-0 advantage with 30:37 until halftime.
The game was stayed at 2-0 until just 22:22 remained in the game. It was once again Doak who put the ball in the net for Mt. Pleasant.
This time, Doak?s goal came off a cross from Mary West. The ball trickled all the way across the front of the net and Doak found some open space to tap in her second score. That goal made it 3-0 to put the game on ice.
?Mary did a great job down the line, beating her defender and being able to swing that cross on perfectly,? head coach Brennan Williams said about the third goal. ?Sydney on the far post able to tap it in. That?s a forward?s goal if you ever saw one, being able to be at the right place.?
Mt. Pleasant was able to cruise to victory from that point on, thanks in part to a continued defensive effort against Ft. Madison speedster Taylor Shanaan, who scored both goals against the Panthers last time the two met.
?I don?t think people were quite expecting us to have the defense that we had today and be able to shut her out, because she has been scoring goals this season against everybody,? Coach Williams said after the win. ?Chloe Warner and April Simon in the back and in the middle did a great job of shutting her down. And then Abby Jalas and Ryann Davidson on the back side did an equally excellent job with their marks. All around for the whole team, it was just a great defensive effort.?
The win moved Mt. Pleasant to 7-3 overall and 5-2 in conference play. A win at Washington on Thursday, May 10, would secure at least a share of the conference crown.
The next Mt. Pleasant girls? game will be at Burlington Notre Dame on Tuesday, May 8, at 5 p.m.