The Panther U12 Girls White team dominated chances and outshot by a wide margin their namesake opponents FC Panthers Gold of Carol Stream at Home on Saturday 5/5, but in the end were denied by a stellar performance by their opponent's keeper.
After FCP Gold took the lead on virtually their first shot of the game, the PSC girls refused to panic and worked their way back into the game using defensive aggression from Morgan Bittner, Hannah Houston and Maggie Praska and their improving passing game to setup chances for Ally Bentel, Caitlyn Guist and Molly Schiltz. Unfortunately for the Panther attackers, they ran into a defense that smartly forced them wide to shoot and a keeper that was routinely well positioned and handling shots with confidence.
Molly Schiltz did manage to get the ball in the net after rounding the keeper, but the ball was adjudged to have gone over the end line before she recovered it to shoot in from a tight angle, leaving the score at 1-0 to the team from Carol Stream. Another shot from Ashley Bailey from the right side was blocked by the keeper at the near post.
By now, the away team were restricted to hitting on the break and yet they were within inches of extending their lead after a goalmouth scramble produced a chance at the back post for their left forward whose shot from a tight angle was heading in before being dramatically cleared off the goal-line by Hannah Houston's quick change of feet.
Just before the half, another ball close to the end line (this time at the PSC end) caused problems when it was caught just before it rolled out of the field and crossed into the box for the FCP Gold striker to fire into an empty net, giving them a 2-0 lead at the half.
The second half brought another early goal from the away team to take the lead to 3-0. To the Panther girls credit though, they refused to let their heads get down and continued to apply even more pressure on their opponent's net, but time and again they were thwarted by fine saves from the FCP Gold keeper. On two occasions, Molly Schiltz hit rising shots that were tipped over the bar. Molly went even closer to scoring when she hit a bullet shot to the near post that stung the palms of the well-positioned keeper. The FCP Gold net also survived a spectacular leaping header from outstanding midfielder Jenny Nunez that was just off the frame after a well flighted corner from Molly Schiltz.
At the other end, FCP Gold attacks were becoming rare and when they did move play to the other end of the field Ashley Bailey, Naia Brandt and Hannah Houston were repelling their attacks to good effect. Keeper Morgan Bittner was unfortunate to concede a Penalty Kick when reaching for a loose ball in the box, but she recovered the situation with a great save from the spot kick.
The Panther midfielders of Jenny Nunez, Molly Gustafson, Katlyn Selvig and Lauren Weber continued to push the team forward and create chances for their strikers. Some neat footwork from Ally Bentel produced another shooting opportunity and another save. Caitlin Guist went even closer to scoring with a fine shot that beat the keeper, but rebounded back off the upright.
Even as time began to drift away and the Panthers were searching more for a consolation goal rather than the win, the team spirit stayed positive and the girls competed to the end.
As the whistle blew to end the game, the U12 White Girls had suffered a first loss of the spring season, but left in the knowledge that they will continue to push teams hard when they compete and play this well and that they will not face keepers of that quality very often.