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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!