The Skyview High School girls soccer team defeated a heavy-hearted Seward squad 3-0 Wednesday at Skyview in a Region III match.
The Skyview boys also triumphed, posting a 4-0 win over the Seahawks.
"They had a lot to overcome today," said Seward girls coach Laura Beck, explaining that the boys and girls teams learned of a death in a player's family early Wednesday morning. "It's just tough when you live in a small community like Seward and you lose someone who's touched the lives of everyone out here. It was a solemn trip up here."
The Seahawks persevered, and the Seward girls came out playing the same style of tight defense that has kept it in every game this season.
The Panthers were able to find some chinks, though, using a patient passing game on the flanks before firing crosses into the middle for good chances on goal.
"All the work we've done on passing and all the skill work paid off today," said Skyview girls coach Tony Lewis. "Everyone stayed open in their position, and we always had someone to pass to. (The patience) is what I really liked. The wins and losses will happen, but it's been my goal to get the team to play good soccer."
The Panthers scored their first goal 11 minutes into the match on just such a play. Skyview's Amy Lambe tracked down a ball in the corner on the right wing and fired a cross into the penalty area. Katie Kier made a good play to pick the ball out of the air and put a shot on goal under heavy pressure from a Seward defender.
Seward goalkeeper Jamie Fredrickson, who had stepped off her line to play the cross, dove after the shot but couldn't get her hands on the ball until it was already over the goal line.
The Panthers got a solid effort on the flanks all afternoon from Lambe and Katie Verba, while April Friedly, Jamie Beever and Marina Holt played well up front. Melissa Bixby had a good day at central midfield and Jenny Carpenter was able to push forward from her stopper position.
Skyview had a golden opportunity six minutes into the second half when Lambe rocketed a shot from close range off the woodwork, but Beever gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead at the 12-minute mark of the second half, scoring on a nifty shot off a direct kick from 20 yards out.
Bixby scored the final Skyview goal midway through the second half when she chipped a ball on net from the top of the penalty area. Fredrickson got her fingertips on the ball but couldn't quite tip it over the crossbar.
Seward did have some good chances on net in the second half, particularly late in the match. Skyview defender Donna Sadler actually saved a goal with six minutes left in the match, recovering to knock the ball away from Seward's Miranda Mahle with the crafty striker waiting on the doorstep with an open net at which to shoot.
Seward's back three of Erin Gillaspie, Willow Hetrick and Chelsea Woelkers played well under constant pressure, and Beck credited freshmen Breanna Bardarson, Katie Daubney, Elsa Gaule, Shannon Holm and Jenni Regis with stepping in to help out.
The Skyview boys had several excellent chances on net in the early going of their match with Seward, but their shots either drifted high or wide, or Seward goalkeeper Jamethon Luther was able to parry them aside.
Ty Edward finally broke the ice for the Panthers 25 minutes into the match, taking a low, hard cross from Matt Burdick and putting a one-touch shot past Luther.
Edward gave Skyview a 2-0 halftime lead with a goal in the final minute of the half, this time shooting low through a screen of players from the top of the penalty area. Leon Galbraith did well to get the ball to Edward in a good scoring position.
Jacob Fellman added a goal three minutes into the second half, assisted by Galbraith, and Burdick set up Edward for his hat trick two minutes later.
"Matt Burdick had his top game of the year so far," said Skyview boys coach Dave Carpenter. "Ty had an outstanding game, and Travis Endsley worked really hard in the middle of the field. He got a lot of shots off."
Carpenter credited Seward with working hard throughout the match, noting that the Seahawks had several good shots on Skyview keepers Josh Rowell and Carey Johnson, who each made six saves to combine for the shutout.
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