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Spartans use big second half to down Panthers in Elite Eight

October 27, 2020 | 12:05 am

Updated October 27, 2020 | 10:08 am

Tyler Dixon | Owensboro Times

The Daviess County Panthers’ revenge tour ended Monday night in Bowling Green as they fell to South Warren in the quarterfinals of the KHSAA State Boys’ Soccer Tournament at Warren Central.

Neither team had much time to prepare for their match on Monday but it was the Spartans that used a huge second half to take down Daviess County 3-0.

From the opening whistle, South Warren applied the pressure on the defensive end but it wasn’t anything that surprised DC coach Doug Sandifer.

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“They were physical but I don’t think it was dirty,” he said. “They did a very good job of bringing the second defender to the ball and timed it very well. They’re really well coached and well disciplined in that if we beat the first defender on the ball, the second one is coming and you can tell that’d be talked into them and coached into them and we struggled with that. We had some good looks first half, really good looks, I was disappointed.”

The Spartans and Panthers were tied 0-0 as the first half ended, but it didn’t take long for South Warren to get on the board in the second half.

With 30:38 left, Eldin Velic scored the first goal of the match when his shot got by Panther keeper Cody Clark.

Sandifer told his team to keep firing toward the net as he thought they were on the verge of connecting.

“We had two or three really good looks and right off the bat second half,” he said. “Their goal hurt us but it didn’t kill the game off, it was only one goal. I thought we still battled and had some looks after that. It just wasn’t meant to be tonight.”

Velic added his second goal 10:00 later to make it 2-0. It was the first time DC had given up two goals in a match since their last loss on Sept. 18 against Evansville Memorial. Kiram Mujic scored with 6:38 left to finish the scoring for the Spartans and give the game it’s final at 3-0.

Despite 2020 being as that it’s entailed, it was a marquee year for the Panther program as they hit 800 matches, 500 wins and Sandifer hit the 400-win mark during this season.

He said 2020 will definitely be one to remember.

“Every day, you’re crossing your fingers that you get to play again and we got to play for a long time this fall and it was a lot of fun,” he said. “We got a lot of things to be very happy about. Tonight’s just not one of those nights you’re very happy about but when you look at the overall picture of the season, I think we were very fortunate and have a lot to be proud of, of what we accomplished this year.

“It’s tough for these kids and it’s tough for me to wrap your mind around it right now but in a day or so, I think we’ll all be able to smile and say for such a weird time, that was a fun season.”

The Panthers graduate several seniors, including this year’s leading scorer in Hunter Clark as he was named to the 2020 KHSAA All-State Tournament Soccer Team.

The DC seniors finish their Panther careers with a record of 77-13-8, including two Elite Eights and two second-place finishes at the KHSAA State Tournament.

“They’ve been a part of three or four very good teams and teams that have been very fortunate to do what we did,” he said. “They’re going to look back one day and be really amazed at what they were a part of and able to contribute to in their four years here. Not many kids would be able to say they’re four-time region champion and four-time district champion in their four years, to play in a final or two for a few of them. 

“There’s a lot of kids that would trade places with them in a heartbeat, I think, and we’re going to miss them but everybody has the time run out sooner or later. Who wouldn’t love to have the four years these seniors have?”

October 27, 2020 | 12:05 am

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