Panthers hunt for both soccer titles

STOP RIGHT THERE: Lawrence Park Panthers, in white, successfully blocked Northern Red Knights from scoring, en route to a 6–0 Panther win.

The Panthers are hungry for OFSAA.

It was evident in their April 18 match against Northern Red Knights, as the senior girls soccer squad won handily 6-0 while on the road at near-freezing temperatures.

With a sparkle in his eyes after the game, coach Errol Platt made his intentions for the season known.

“My boys are also league champions this year so I’m hoping to have both titles,” he said, adding the depth of the crew from goalkeep to strikers is vast.

In the first five minutes of play Lawrence Park penetrated deep into Northern’s territory. Leading the hunt for a quick starter goal was Simone Peterson and Currie Cathcart.

After a back and forth battle, Panthers midfielder Megan Glibbery threaded the needle past a sleeping defence to find Peterson wide open. An easy goal marked the first of three for LP’s star attacker.

“She’s got speed and aggressiveness,” Platt said of his co-captain.

Peterson attributed her goal scoring to the Panthers gameplan.

“We went into it thinking we could probably beat them with speed, that’s what worked,” she said. “We played well as a team because we had good offence today. We’re usually lacking that.”

That speed led to another goal by Peterson in the first half, and to end it, Glibbery netted another after a disorienting corner kick managed to squirm its way through a Red Knights phalanx.

Not to discount Northern: They had several chances as Jen Watson shot up the wing, crossed it to teammates Marlow Kierstyn and Connie Russell, only to have it slip from their control.

“I think I could have taken my time, deked out the goalie,” she said. “I wasn’t really leaning over the ball that time but maybe next time.”

After the half, Lawrence Park went back to work with goals from both Claire Boudreau and Cathcart.

With Truta Rallica being shelled, Red Knights coaches Paul Zalewski and Stephen Smith made a goalie change. Lawrence Park’s Peterson would score one more, finalizing her hat trick.

The beating Northern took didn’t deflate the squad as Watson said the team is buoyant.

“I actually think it’s a big improvement for the team,” she said, adding they lost their opener 9-0 to Leaside. “We’re sort of meshing more and realizing each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

“I think that over the season we’ll improve as a team.”

The never-say-die attitude showed as Northern made one last crusade, seeing Watson hit the crossbar and Russell with another shot sailing wide.

The optimism has spread to Zalewski, who has taken over the helm from last season’s Julian Heller.

“I have a lot of faith in them that they’re going to learn from these early losses and really excel in the upcoming games,” Zalewski said.

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