Tuesday night’s girls soccer match between the host Creston Panthers and the Atlantic Trojanns gave Creston head coach Kim Lauffer a preview of Creston’s regional opener.
The Panthers seemingly dominated play for much of the game, but fell 1-0 to the Trojanns after surrendering a goal with 1:08 left to play in the first half.
It marked the seventh straight contest between the two teams that has been decided by just one goal.
After playing the majority of the first half on the offensive attack, the Panthers found themselves playing defense with Atlantic threatening late in the half.
The ball was crossed in from the left side and Creston had an opportunity to clear the ball, but failed to do so.
The ball dropped to the ground right in front of Atlantic sophomore Jennifer Hohenberger at the 18-yard line, who lofted the ball high in the air toward the goal, floating over the outstretched arms of Creston goalie Sadie Jones, and just underneath the crossbar, into the back of the net.
It was a deflating goal for the Panthers, who were just more than one minute from entering halftime tied at 0-0.
“We played our hearts out. It just didn’t happen,” Lauffer said. “That’s OK. We play them first round of the postseason, and they’ll think they can take it to the bank again, but we’ll show them they can’t.”
The Panthers shifted into a different formation for the second half, and saw positive results, but couldn’t push a shot past Atlantic keeper Maren McNees.
Creston brought a third forward up top, leaving just three players in the midfield instead of the four players that would normally be in the midfield for the Panthers.
“We tried a new formation halfway through the game to see how it would work,” Lauffer said. “And it worked well for us. For me, it’s a positive.”
Perhaps the best scoring chance for the Panthers came with 25:17 left in the match, as freshman Abbie Cook received the ball to the left of the goal, dribbled in and took a shot that missed just wide left of the net.
Playing in the more offensively aggressive formation in the second half, the Panthers had several other scoring opportunities late, but failed to score the equalizer.
“We had several shots, but the key thing is, even if we only get six shots off, almost all of them were on goal,” Lauffer said. “That’s the key thing, because you can pop a shot off, but if it goes too wide or if it goes above the net, it’s not quite the same. But if you’re at least hitting it at the goalie, that’s a good thing.”
Creston had a scare with 16:37 remaining in the game, as Jones dove for a ball near the net and collided with an Atlantic player.
Jones stayed on the ground for a few minutes and eventually left the game before returning just minutes later playing with sore ribs.
Lauffer said at this point, there is no indication it is anything too serious that would require Jones to miss playing time.
Jones finished with six saves for the Panthers in net.
The Panthers, now 0-7 overall and 0-3 in the Hawkeye 10 Conference travel to Glenwood on Thursday.
Creston will makeup its postponed game against Kuemper Catholic on May 21 in Creston. The originally scheduled game against Carlisle on that day will be dropped in order to get the conference game in.
The Creston JV team fell 2-0. Kim Alley finished with 13 saves, as Atlantic scored with 26:54 left in the first half and 1:08 left in the second game. Cook, Jenna Hayes and Ashley Knipfer each recorded one shot.
Atlantic 1, Creston 0
Creston (0) — Shots — 6. Shots on goal — 5. Individual shots — Mackenzie Andreasen 1, Emily Lange 1, Michelle Powers 1, Abbie Cook 1, McKenna Thatcher 2. Individual shots on goal — Andreasen 1, Lange 1, Powers 1, Thatcher 2. Keeper saves — Sadie Jones 6.
Atlantic (1) — Jennifer Hohenberger goal, 1:08 first half. Shots on goal — 7. Saves — 5.