The Cabot Lady Panthers beat Rogers 1-0 in the first round of the Class 7A state soccer tournament Thursday at Panther Stadium but lost to Bryant 3-0 in the quarterfinal round Friday afternoon.
In the win over Rogers, Cabot coach Kerry Castillo said his team knew the Lady Mounties would be athletic and direct.
"We knew we had to stay composed, technically sound, creative and organized," he said. "In my opinion, we were successful in all of those aspects."
Castillo said the central midfield of Braxton Reed, Maddie Rice and Tabby Owens did a wonderful job of taking the ball out of the air and taking players on, making them miss.
"In several instances this resulted in us being fouled and we took the subsequent free kick quickly to catch them out of a defensive shape," Castillo said.
Cabot’s lone goal came on it’s 1-2 combination of Codee Park and Devin Patterson.
Park was serving the corner in, driven into the penalty area on the goal face with Patterson getting on the end of it was the goal producer.
Patterson ran onto the ball and headed it behind the keeper to front post side netting with about 20 minutes left in the game.
"We became very conservative, trying to close the game out but attack the same time," Castillo said. "Sydney Farquharson, Anna Applegate and Jessica Souza were able to get behind Rogers defenders on the flank and keep the ball in wide areas to chip away at the clock. Rogers attacked quickly and in numbers but our backline and goalkeeper Hana Cooper, which have been a solid foundation for us all year, held firm."
Castillo said he was proud of his team for winning its first round game.
"Our goal for this year was to make the playoffs and win our first-round match," he said. "To do so against a strong girls program like the Rogers Lady Mounties is quite an accomplishment."
Friday’s loss to Bryant was a tough one, Castillo said.
"They are so athletic, organized, technical and well-coached," he said. "We had to make good on every opportunity we had."
The game went back and forth and was scoreless at halftime.
Bryant took a 1-0 lead 10 minutes into the second half. They Lady Hornets then scored two more goals before the end of the game.
"Though the girls were clearly upset and our year came to an end, I couldn’t help but smile," Castillo said. "We had a wonderful year — a year that was uncertain at the start with many former starters gone, freshmen to fill their shoes and roles, and one of our captains — Tabby Owens returning from an ACL surgery.
"This group of young ladies achieved a ton of success through their hard work and commitment to one another," Castillo added. "It’s hard not to smile, being around a group of wonderful people like them, regardless of the result."
Castillo said during the loss to Bryant that a few of his players asked why the Bryant players wore pick around their shin guards. The Lady Hornets said it was for breast cancer awareness and that five of their players’ families has been struck by the disease this year.
"The very next day, our girls show up to support the Bryant girls by wearing pink t-shirts and socks," Castillo said. "I have a new admiration and respect of the Bryant girls soccer players and coach. That is strength. For young person to endure that in their life and still play on is heroic.
"Our girls are special young ladies and I think the world of them for showing such sportsmanship and respect … these young ladies are amazing people and I am very blessed to be their coach."