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Starr's Mill 1-1 (5-6 PKs) Flowery Branch

posted May 6, 2017, 11:24 AM by John Bowen   [ updated May 6, 2017, 4:03 PM ]

5A Girls State Quarterfinals
Flowery Branch, GA

Rain, over cast skies and a long ride through traffic couldn't dampen Starr's Mill's spirits but it was a heart breaking evening for the Panthers as they fell in penalties to Flowery Branch Friday night. The team started out strong and seemed to take control 12 minutes in as Meritt Parker spotted the visitors a one goal lead. Sara Biddle found Parker on the left flank and a weaving run between and around defenders ended with a quick left footed shot that flashed into goal at the near post. Starr's Mill possessed well and controlled play to some extent in the first half but the Falcons were in the ascendancy for periods of time as well. The majority of their chances were from distance but they were quick to break into the attack. Sara Biddle, Sky Dedrick, Ashton Nowicki, Lauren Avidano and Kirsten Oates did well in picking up the threats and limited much of the action thrown at keeper Spencer Dawson. Makira Walton and Rachel Davison in the midfield provided a good base to start attacks and the forwards, Parker, Ansley Peurifoy, and Quin Nowicki found moments to get in behind and around the Flowery Branch defense. The injury bug struck again as Walton went down with a hyper extended knee a couple minutes after the goal and kept her out the remainder of the game. Both teams battled physically throughout the match fighting for second balls and flying into tackles. Starr's Mill looked to be well on its way at the half holding the slim 1-0 advantage but feeling confident.

In the second half the Falcons picked up the pace and, with the wind at their backs, found spaces in behind the Panther backline. Dawson was up to the challenge and the defense, led by Ashton Nowicki, managed to put out fires quickly. It was a seemingly hopeful long range shot that turned the game on its ear 18 minutes into the half. The Flowery Branch midfielder cut inside and hit it high to the far post just out of reach to level the score and energize the home side and its fans.  The goal came as the Panthers were struggling to get the ball out of the back and the Falcons were able to pin them back for an extended period. It took a while before Starr's Mill was able to reassert itself but they slowly began to create chances. Parker got around the left side again, cutting the ball back for a finish, but both Dedrick and Peurifoy saw the same opportunity to put each other off. Davison began to range far and wide in the midfield and had a few good shots from distance but straight to the keeper. Overtime beckoned as the clock hit 0:00.

Much like the game, Starr's Mill began with greater authority. Peurifoy, Davison, Dedrick, and Parker all benefited from Ashton Nowicki moving into midfield as the team possessed in the attacking half for close to the full five minutes. Looks at goal again found the keeper but a goal seemed eminent as the team pushed for the game winner. Flowery Branch got a quick counter down the Panther right side but Dawson came up huge with a diving save as she held onto a bullet of a shot from the wing destined for the far post. The teams headed into the second over time and the script flipped again with Starr's Mill struggling to create chances and called for fouls preventing the team from getting out of its half while providing the Falcons looks from service. Again the defense stood tall and the game headed to penalties. Flowery Branch won the coin toss and took first crack hitting their first two shots and saving the Panthers first shot. Down 2-0 Starr's Mill showed their steel as Ashton Nowicki, Meritt Parker, and Ansley Peurifoy scored around a Falcon success and a shot hit over the goal. Both teams began to put the ball into the back of the net with Dawson close on four occasions but unable to keep the ball out. Rachel Davison and Chloe Spradlin scored for the Panthers before Starr's Mill's seventh round shot was saved by the Falcon keeper securing the Final Four slot for Flowery Branch.

The match leaves the Panther record level at 9-9-2 on the season and finishes off their continuous adversity test of a season. The team battled through injuries and limited player availability throughout the season and managed to come within a guess of another Final Four. The team bids farewell to the class of 2017: Ashley Broderick, Spencer Dawson, Sky Dedrick, Katelyn LaRusso, Ashton Nowicki, and Ansley Peurifoy. Thank you for always supporting your Panthers!

Starr's Mill 2-0 Paulding Co

posted May 3, 2017, 11:50 AM by John Bowen

5A Girls State Sweet Sixteen
Dallas, GA

The Panthers worked their way slowly along the back roads to Dallas on Tuesday afternoon and managed to scrape out a 2-0 victory over Paulding County in the 5A Girls State Sweet Sixteen. The game had a consistent tone of Starr's Mill maintaining possession and the Patriots looking to counter quickly to goal. With Sara Biddle shackled to the Paulding Co main threat, Ashton Nowicki, Lauren Avidano, Rachel Davison, Sky Dedrick, Kaleigh Ward, and Kirsten Oates made fairly easy work of denying clear looks at goal through out the game. Nowicki was called upon for a goal line clearance in the 15th minute but that was the most dangerous moment of the afternoon. Spencer Dawson and Abby Weaver made easy work of the long shots at goal and recorded a relatively smooth shutout during the afternoon.

It was Nikki Jackson who burst down the flank and around the Patriot back line in the 35th minute to put Starr's Mill in the lead. Ansley Peurifoy found the split and Jackson streaked in straight to goal before powering a shot beyond the keeper's reach for her first varsity goal. While possession was a constant clear chances were not as shots were fired straight to the keeper from distance or wide of goal. Heavy legs were evident throughout the team and subs were often and for extended periods of time. Meritt Parker, Dedrick, and Quin Nowicki each provided dangerous moments but it was all for naught as the half ended with a slim lead for Starr's Mill. 

The second half began playing to the same tune as the first. Starr's Mill controlled large chunks of play although Paulding Co did manage to get a few shots on frame from distance. Peurifoy was the provider once again in the 63rd minute when she again found the defense splitting pass to Parker who fired a first time volley which went over the keeper and dipped into the far corner to double the lead. Starr's Mill began to finish off the game with possession and composure as the time ticked away counting down to advancing in the state tournament. The Panthers finished the game off professionally for the 2-0 win and move on to the next round.

Starr's Mill travels Flowery Branch on Friday, May 5th, in the 5A Girls Quarterfinals. Kick off is scheduled for 5:30 pm. Come out and support your Panthers!

Starr's Mill 3-0 Harris Co

posted Apr 28, 2017, 6:49 AM by John Bowen

5A Girls State Playoffs First Round
Hamilton, GA

Starr's Mill traveled south and returned with a 3-0 win over Harris Co in the first round of the state playoffs. The team started slowly but maintained control throughout. The first half saw the Panthers defend perfectly allowing only 1/2 chances or looks at goal by Harris Co. Kirsten Oates, Ashton Nowicki, Rachel Davison, Sky Dedrick, and Sara Biddle formed a wall around the box and prevent any real chances in the half. Chloe Spradlin and Makira Walton held the midfield under control despite being outnumbered. Katelyn O'Shields, Hailey Grebeck and Kaleigh Ward came in to provide fresh energy and keep things contained as the half came to a close tied at 0-0.

The second half saw the Starr's Mill front line join the party as the team immediately looked more threatening and created clearer chances. It took less than ten minutes for the Panthers to pull ahead after their immediate and sustained pressure led to a corner kick. Ansley Peurifoy drove the ball in at the near post and Quin Nowicki flashed in front of the defender and flicked the ball inside the near post for the 1-0 lead. The Panthers jumped on the momentum and scored two more goals in less than 9 minutes. Spradlin freed Peurifoy on a ball in behind the defense and she made no mistake in doubling the lead. Peurifoy was involved the third time with a flick between defenders allowing Oates to get into the box. She settled and the rifled the ball through the keepers hands and into the net for the 3-0 lead. Alivia Sapienza, Nikki Jackson, and Meritt Parker created chances and helped the team finish off the match as it turned into more of a back and forth affair in the last fifteen minutes.

Starr's Mill advances to the 5A Girls State Sweet Sixteen on Tuesday, May 2nd. The win raised their record to 8-9-1 on the season as they move on to face the seventh ranked Paulding Co (15-3-0) in Dallas, GA. Come out and support your Panthers!

Starr's Mill 0-1 Walton

posted Apr 23, 2017, 1:56 PM by John Bowen

Marietta, GA

Starr's Mill finished their 2017 regular season in Marietta Friday night falling 1-0 to the Walton Raiders on their senior night. The territorial advantage was hugely in the Raiders favor in the first half but the Panthers managed to maintain possession of the ball and work it around well in the back. The fault came as the possession moved into the attack as Starr's Mill was slow to support the ball in the forward positions. Defensively the team was solid as Ashton Nowicki, Rachel Davison, Sky Dedrick, Kirsten Oates, and Sara Biddle were well drilled and disciplined in their shape and focus. Chloe Spradlin, Katelyn O'Shields, Quin Nowicki, and Meritt Parker did well to create a formidable block in defense with Ansley Peurifoy dropping from the front to shape up as well. The Panthers did well to deny clear Walton created chances but were victims of location on several occasions as turnovers deep in their end gifted the Raiders clear looks at goal. Spencer Dawson recorded four saves including a beautiful diving save to her left and the defenders committed to the cause deflecting shots at every angle. A slow paced game was slow on real excitement and it was a bland free kick that provided the edge with three minutes left in the half. A late tackle just outside the corner of the box provided the glimpse and the Raider free kick taker bent it back post and top shelf for the 1-0 lead at the half.

The Panthers came out more attack minded with real intent to start the second half. Immediately the territorial balance evened out but the Panthers still struggled to create chances. The backline stayed strong and Abby Weaver came up big with six saves included a fantastic wrong footed reaction save and a quick tip over the bar to keep Starr's Mill in the game. The Panthers enjoyed more forward moment but couldn't find the clear look at goal with Rachel Davison's effort from 25 their best chance. Hailey Grebeck came on to good effect at defensive center mid with Kaleigh Ward showing well at outside back, Alivia Sapienza provided an outlet up top and Makira Walton showed great drive to get forward from attacking mid. The tying goal eluded Starr's Mill however and Walton saw out the game comfortably for the 1-0 win.  The loss drops the Panthers to 7-9-1 on the season entering the state playoffs. The slate is wiped clean as the team prepares for a trip to #9 5A ranked and 12-5-0 Region 1 second seeded Harris Co on Thursday at 6:00 pm in a winner take all first round 5A Girls State Playoffs match up. Be sure to head to Hamilton and support you Panthers!!

Starr's Mill 11-0 Morrow

posted Apr 17, 2017, 4:49 PM by John Bowen

Fayetteville, GA   

Starr's Mill finished their region slate with an 11-0 win over Morrow on Monday evening. Despite a shower to cool things off the Panthers came out hot with a quick succession of goals in the first few minutes. The team ran out to the lead quickly and never looked back. Meritt Parker lead the team with 3 goals 1 assist, Sky Dedrick 2 goals, Spencer Dawson 1 goal 2 assists, Ansley Peurifoy 1 goal 1 assist, Chloe Spradlin 1 goal 1 assist, Quin Nowicki 2 assists, Ashton Nowicki, Alivia Sapienza, Katelyn O'Shields 1 goal each, and Kirsten Oates with 1 assist. The win raises the team's record to 7-8-1 overall and 4-2-0 in the region. The Panthers finish their regular season on Friday in Marietta against Walton at 6:00 pm in the opener of a varsity double header. Come out and support your Panthers!

Starr's Mill 0-3 Whitewater

posted Apr 14, 2017, 6:14 AM by John Bowen

Fayetteville, GA

The sun was shining but the goals went the other way as Starr's Mill dropped a 3-0 match to Whitewater on Thursday night. The game played out with Whitewater enjoying the lion's share of possession and the Panthers looking to defend and counter. An early free kick allowed the Panthers a glimpse of goal but the header went wide of the net. The cagey affair looked poised for frustration for the first 20 minutes until the Wildcats struck. Starr's Mill was slow to close down the Whitewater center mid who struck the perfect ball from 30 yards into the top right corner of the net with keeper Spencer Dawson getting a finger to it but not enough to keep it out giving the Wildcats the 1-0 lead. The Panthers continued their game of patience allowing very little space in or around the box but Whitewater managed to win a corner. The cross was whipped in and fell into the box among all the players bouncing around for several seconds before falling to a Wildcat to put home for the 2-0 advantage.

Starr's Mill continued to defend in numbers but threw on another striker to try to help maintain an attacking threat on the counter. There were opportunities but the Panthers moved forward as if they had to score both goals at once and chances were limited. After the half, the team settled down and began to be a little more patient in the attack and their best chance came. A defensive clearance found Alivia Sapienza in midfield who turned play a ball in behind for Ansley Peurifoy. Peurifoy ran by one then two defenders to get in 1v1 with the keeper and beat the keeper with the shot but pushed it wide. Whitewater maintained possession and pressure but it was the Panthers who got the next clear chance. A ball played into Chloe Spradlin in the midfield provided time and space with Peurifoy making another run in front of the ball. The shift in the back allowed a perfect switch to be played allowing Kaleigh Ward into the box with time but her shot went right to the keeper. 

The Panthers were still on the defensive but they were finding opportunities as Peurifoy and Sapienza ran the channels and Sky Dedrick, Kirsten Oates, Ward, and Spradlin patrolled the flanks. Makira Walton partnered numerous teammates in the middle to provide support. Sara Biddle was immense in marking Whitewater's danger player throughout the match with Ashton Nowicki, Lauren Avidano, Dedrick, and Oates doing a superb job in the back limiting the Wildcats to long distance shots. Time was against Starr's Mill but the game played on a knife's edge as one goal seemed only moments away. In the end, however, it was Whitewater who hit the net. A long range, speculative effort and a lapse in concentration saw the Wildcats claim their third goal with just seven minutes remaining.

The loss drops the Panthers to 6-8-1 on the season and 3-2-0 in the region. With the earlier victory over Fayette Co, Starr's Mill is guaranteed the third seed and will travel to Harris Co of Region 1 on Thursday, April 27th. Before the playoffs kick off Starr's Mill finishes the regular season with two matches next week. First up on Monday April 17th is Senior Night against the Morrow Mustangs at 5:55 pm in Panther Stadium in the opener in a varsity doubleheader. Come out and support your Panthers and show your love for the class of 2017!

Starr's Mill 0-3 McIntosh

posted Mar 30, 2017, 6:53 PM by John Bowen

Peachtree City, GA

A gorgeous afternoon went to waste Thursday night as the Starr's Mill team fell 3-0 to rival McIntosh in Peachtree City. The game played out much closer save for a a three minute period where the Chiefs were rampant. A ball behind a high line gave the McIntosh striker an invitation and she weaved her way through the defense to take the 1-0 in the 14th minute. Less than two minutes later a ball down the Panther right side was crossed into the box and poked home at the near post to double the lead. Just over a minute later the Chiefs struck again with a shot from just inside the 18 into the top left corner of the net to seal the win 3-0 in just the 17th minute. Starr's Mill were reeling and it took time to settle back down. Slowly the team clawed its way back but could not find the back of the net. A few half chances and opportunities couldn't find the final touch needed to pull one back. Alivia Sapienza was played in for one chance and a defenders clearance was pushed out by the keeper for a corner, Ansley Peurifoy got a few runs down the flank but couldn't find a cross or a shot. Makira Walton and Rachel Davison were industrious in midfield but found connecting passes and finding options difficult. Quin Nowicki began a few promising exchanges with Chloe Spradlin providing some runs and chances from the flanks. The second half found an improved team effort but the game still leaned the Chiefs way. Ashton Nowicki moved into midfield to try and create a spark but the team just couldn't find the numbers and opportunities on the front end. The defense dealt with the Chief directness better with Sara Biddle anchoring the line and Sky Dedrick finding some space to get forward on occasion. The Panthers, however, could never find the spark to apply enough pressure but defended resolutely with keeper Spencer Dawson coming up with a few nice saves and 10 overall to keep the McIntosh team at bay in the second half. 

The loss leaves Starr's Mill at 6-7-1 on the season and 3-1-0 in the region sitting in third place. The team enters spring break and will have the next ten days off before returning to the practice field before facing another regional and local rival at home in Panther Stadium as they host Whitewater on Thursday, April 13th. Come out and support your Panthers!

Starr's Mill 1-2 East Coweta

posted Mar 24, 2017, 7:23 PM by John Bowen

Fayetteville, GA

On a beautiful night in Panther Stadium Starr's Mill came up just short in a 2-1 loss to East Coweta. The teams battled in a very even affair with each team claiming superiority at times through out the match. Ansley Peurifoy forced a great save by the Indian keeper as Quin Nowicki worked her way around the left side of the defense to lay the ball off. East Coweta got their chances as well with Spencer Dawson coming up big stonewalling an early break away by East Coweta. The teams traded shots and chances for most of the opening half with the defenses strong and the keepers making saves as needed. A hesitation in the back gave East Coweta the opener when a through ball provided the space for the Indian striker to flash in beating Dawson to the ball and finishing into the open net for the 1-0 lead in the 29th minute. The teams continued to trade blows for the remainder of the first half but the Panthers couldn't find the equalizer before halftime.

The second half saw the Indians create a bit more opportunity but the defense was equal to the task. Sara Biddle, Sky Dedrick, Ashton Nowicki and Lauren Avidano were well drilled and synchronized preventing many clear chances. When East Coweta's one clear chance came keeper Spencer Dawson came up with a huge double save to deny the Indian striker. With Panther chances few and far between, the team began to push forward with more numbers with 20 minutes remaining. Meritt Parker was instrumental in setting Peurifoy free on several occasions but Alivia Sapienza gave the team a bit more presence up top and the Panthers began to possess a bit more in the attacking half. The strategy created the chances but also stretched the team defensively and allowed East Coweta an opportunity. A ball played in behind when numbers were forward resulted in a break which was finished with a sliding touch to double the lead with just four minutes remaining. Starr's Mill did not go gently into the night however. The team pushed forward again in numbers with Sapienza running down a ball in behind to force a corner. Peurifoy took the corner with a minute remaining and it was Quin Nowicki who popped up and headed home to pull one back at 2-1. The team again pushed forward but ran out of time as the seconds ticked off and the Indians claimed a 2-1 victory.

The loss drops Starr's Mill to 6-6-1 overall on the season and 3-0-0 in the region with one game remaining prior to spring break. It is a week of Starr's Mill at McIntosh as the JV teams travel to Peachtree City on Tuesday for a double header before the varsity teams meet up at McIntosh again two days later Thursday night. The girls meet in a pivotal region match with each looking to clinch a playoff berth with a win as the boys battle for the top seeds in the region. The girls will get things started at 5:30 before the boys kick off at 8:00 pm. Come out and support your Panthers!

Starr's Mill 3-0 Fayette Co

posted Mar 21, 2017, 6:16 PM by John Bowen

Fayetteville, GA

Starr's Mill won their third region match 3-0 over Fayette Co Tuesday night on a beautiful night that developed a dark cloud. The Panthers were quickly asserted control of the match and were winning chances after an early Tiger press in the first couple of minutes. Starr's Mill were getting looks through Ansley Peurifoy and Katelyn LaRusso as the pair held the ball up well and were penetrating consistently. Quin Nowicki, Chloe Spradlin, and Meritt Parker were working well together and keeping the pressure on when Spradlin played a beautiful ball splitting the Tiger defense. LaRusso was in like a shot alone against the keeper looking to go around her when they collided at full speed. Unfortunately both players were knocked out of the game after just 10 minutes and a penalty was awarded to the Panthers. Captain Ansley Peurifoy stepped to the spot and struck it cleanly into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead. The break in play seemed to lower the intensity of both teams for a while with Starr's Mill still keeping possession and controlling play.

After some more sustained pressure the Panthers found number two. Quin Nowicki laid a ball back to Ashton Nowicki who hit a laser into the top right corner of the goal from 25 yards to double the advantage in the 21st minute. Play continued with the occasional Tiger break and majority Panther possession throughout the half. Rachel Davison, forced into a more offensive role, kept the ball moving and combined with Makira Walton to break up opposition play. The defense allowed the team control of the ball all over the field as Sky Dedrick, Sara Biddle, Ashton Nowicki, and Lauren Avidano worked it smoothly from side to side started most attacks. The team's defense was impeccable as they closed the half without allowing a shot on goal. Spencer Dawson was always an outlet in the back but had a relaxed half. Starr's Mill continued its assault on the Tiger goal as Peurifoy was leading the line excellently. After penetrating the right flank, Peurifoy made a bee line to the goal drawing in the Tiger defense. She split the center backs with a cross to Parker at the penalty spot who took her two touches and finished into the far corner for a 3-0 lead with just 15 ticks left on the clock in the first half. That closed the first stanza with Starr's Mill holding the commanding 3-0 lead.

The second half was more of the same with a bit more life in the Fayette Co side. They created some half chances from distance that Dawson collected coolly and a couple of break aways that had to be cleaned up but the defense held the clean sheet in tack. The attack was always a threat but failed to dent the back of the net in the second half and the game finished 3-0 in the end. The win moves the Panthers to 6-5-1 on the season and 3-0-0 in the region. The team returns home Friday night as they host East Coweta at 5:55 in the first game of a varsity doubleheader. Come out and support your Panthers!

Starr's Mill 0-0 Woodward

posted Mar 17, 2017, 5:56 PM by John Bowen

College Park, GA

Starr's Mill traveled to College Park Friday night for a varsity doubleheader at Woodward Academy and came home with a point after a 0-0 tie. Despite controlling play and maintaining an advantage most of the game the Panthers failed to dent the scoreboard. Chloe Spradlin made good use of her time in the midfield with three clear chances in the first have but was denied by the keeper on one occasion and just missed on two others. Katelyn LaRusso, Meritt Parker, Rachel Davison and Ansley Peurifoy each found opportunity but couldn't convert with the finishing touch. The team closed the half on top but even on the scoreboard at 0-0.

The second half introduced a strong wind and a stronger Woodward. Woodward were more direct and with the wind at their backs they kept the pressure on Starr's Mill for much of the opening minutes. Ashton Nowicki, Lauren Avidano, Sky Dedrick and Sara Biddle were more than up to the task as they limited the opposition's chances to crosses and long shots which only called on keeper Spencer Dawson once to make a save. Slowly the Panthers began to get more a hold of the game with Rachel Davison, Makira Walton, and Quin Nowicki providing options for the team. Spradlin continued her fine form in the attacking end with Parker also keeping options open. Parker found LaRusso with a great cross which she finished coolly before the flag went up to deny the advantage. Alivia Sapienza came on and provided pace and directness latching onto two through balls but hitting one just wide with another saved by the keeper. The final seconds ticked off as Starr's Mill defended one more Woodward advance and the honors were even at 0-0.

The tie leaves Starr's Mill level on the season at 5-5-1 overall and 2-0-0 in the region sitting in 4th place. The team recorded its 5th shutout in 7 matches with Dawson going the distance and the defense allowing only three shots. The Panthers travel to Fayetteville on Tuesday to take on the currently third seeded Fayette Co Tigers who have already clinched a spot in the 2017 5A state playoffs. The teams open a varsity doubleheader at 5:30 with the boys to follow at 7:30. Come out and support your Panthers!

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