A 3-1 loss to South Warren wasn’t the end the Daviess County boys’ soccer team were expecting to cap off an otherwise stellar season. The Panthers (16-2-1) gave up a pair of early goals Tuesday night and couldn’t overcome a quick Spartans team.
DCHS head coach Doug Sandifer said South Warren’s intensity and speed proved too much for a Panthers’ team that came out looking tired and lethargic.
“I didn’t think we came out particularly focused and ready to play,” Sandifer said. “South Warren obviously did. They were quicker to the ball in the first half, more aggressive and just flat out better than us. The second half we picked it up, but they didn’t drop off much, so we just matched their intensity.”
The Panthers tried to mount a comeback late in the first half. Maxten Miller found his way into the box with 6 minutes remaining, and he took a lofted cross from Declan Armistead. The ball bounced once and went over the last man back for South Warren, allowing Miller to put a solid boot to the ball for a nice finish past a diving goalkeeper.
The momentum continued after halftime, and a strong start out of the break yielded several chances. However, an untimely foul by Panthers goalkeeper Lennart Markel gave South Warren a chance to get their two-goal lead back. A straightforward goal from the penalty spot put the score at 3-1, where it remained for the rest of the game.
The opportunities to score kept coming for Daviess County, but they weren’t able to connect. In total, Daviess County had eight corner kicks, five shots on target and several other opportunities.
The Panthers now turn their attention to the district tournament. For Sandifer, the focus after the game was on learning hard lessons that will hopefully set up his Daviess County crew for a successful state tournament run.
“Any team can beat us on any given night,” Sandifer said. “We need to spend the next few days getting ready for the district tournament next week. We were one-dimensional in attack tonight and we need to work on getting out of that mindset this week in practice.”
Daviess County will be back in action Monday when they take on Owensboro Catholic in the first round of the district tournament, which is played at Owensboro. The Panthers did not lose a district game all season, while the Aces failed to pick up a district win.