Panther soccer squad drops tourney game in OT

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Fairbanks’ Madeline Conroy (back) and Wellington’s Mary Morosky hit the deck after going for the ball Saturday afternoon. The Lady Panthers fell, 2-1, in overtime during a Division III tournament match. (Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)

Regardless of the sport, tournament time can cause a variety of emotions.
The two biggest involve how any particular contest concludes.
There is the joy of winning and moving on in the post-season and then there is the utter disappointment of what might have been.
Fairbanks’ girls soccer team saw its season conclude in that type of disappointment on Saturday afternoon with a 2-1 overtime loss to Columbus Wellington.
The Lady Panthers (who finished the season with a record of 11-6-1) went into the home game as the No. 4 Division III tournament seed.
The Jaguars were right behind FHS at No. 5.
When seeds that closely linked play, anything can happen.
FHS made things happen within the first eight minutes of the contest.
Lilly Dean blasted the ball with her left foot past Wellington keeper Laurie Grohovsky for a 1-0 lead.
Fairbanks would maintain the upper hand for the remainder of the first half.
The two teams traded possessions and field position until the turn.
The Jaguars were kept out of the net by Panther keeper Avery Groves and solid defensive work by Rebecca Dean.
Fairbanks had opportunities to score before the turn, but could not cash in on those opportunities.
That would come back to haunt the Lady Panthers as the afternoon progressed.
Samantha Adkins of FHS had two shots on goal as the clock eclipsed the midway point of the second half.
Both of those offerings, however, were turned back by Grohovsky.
Wellington tied the game at 1-1 with 17:47 remaining in regulation.
Mary Morosky broke free from Fairbanks’ defensive pressure and rifled the ball past Groves.
The Lady Panthers had a couple of scoring opportunities over the next couple of minutes.
Those offerings, however, sailed wide of the mark.
FHS dodged a bullet with 10:08 on the timer.
Groves left the net open to come out and grab the ball.
The Jaguars, who edged Fairbanks 3-2 during the regular season, got the ball past her, but a shot on goal went wide left.
The final minutes of regulation expired as neither team could work the ball into the net.
A 15-minute sudden death overtime followed.
Both squads traded possessions for nearly eight minutes before Morosky got the ball past Groves for the winning goal.
“We had a game plan, but we just couldn’t finish the game,” said Panther coach Randy Spain.
Fairbanks tightened its formations and challenged every ball, said Spain.
“We had a lot of combinations (of players) and we did well with them,” he said. “This was just a tough way to end the season.”



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