Panther soccer teams begin postseason play this week

GTNS file photo

Hannah Hess (pictured) and the Mt. Pleasant girls will host Fairfield in their regional first round game.
GTNS file photo Hannah Hess (pictured) and the Mt. Pleasant girls will host Fairfield in their regional first round game.

It’s go time for the Mt. Pleasant soccer teams. The two Panther squads will look to add to a successful regular season with big runs in postseason play. The Mt. Pleasant boys opened up with a bye and will take on Iowa City Liberty tonight (Wednesday) at 5 p.m. The girls will be at home on Thursday, May 23, when they take on conference rival Fairfield in the first round of regionals.

The Panther boys ended the regular season 13-5, and while they couldn’t pull off a Southeast Conference championship, they did show they could play with some of the best teams in the area. Mt. Pleasant held a 1-0 lead against Marion at the beginning of the month, albeit short-lived, They split with SEC rival Fairfield and took two of three from Ft. Madison.

The Panthers, who were led with 52 points from former goalkeeper Nathan Rauenbuehler in the regular season, will try and hold homefield today against a Liberty team fresh off a 9-2 win against Keokuk in the first round.

Liberty is only 6-10 this season, including that win over Keokuk, but they don’t exactly play the easiest of schedules. Liberty plays up a class in half its games, and also has to deal with top-seeded Cedar Rapids Xavier on its schedule. Against SEC teams, Liberty has cruised, drubbing Washington 8-0 and 5-1 this season before taking out Keokuk on Monday.

Liberty is co-led by Kolby Godbolt and Ayi Ajavon, who scored 33 points apiece this season.

The winner of that game will likely et No. 1 Cedar Rapids Xavier in Saturday’s substate final. The two-loss Saints will play against Ft. Madison tonight in their district semifinal.

The Mt. Pleasant girls will face a familiar foe in their first round game on Thursday. The Panthers beat Fairfield 2-1 in penalty kicks earlier this year in Mt. Pleasant, and then defeated the Trojans 3-1 at their place in late April.

Mary West has scored a goal in each of the two games against the Trojans this year. She finished the regular season with a team-leading 36 points, with Sydney Doak adding 28. Between the two, they’ve scored 30 of the Panthers’ 49 goals, with West putting in seven of them.

The Trojans, who are led by Emily McAvan’s 32 points, are coming off a four-game winning streak.

The prize for winning Thursday’s game is a date with No. 6 Pella in the next round. The winner of that game would likely play No. 10 Norwalk in the regional final.

Both games will begin 30 minutes later than regular season games at East Lake Park. The clock will start on the 2019 postseason at 5 p.m.