Second half goal pushes Daviess County past Owensboro

August 19, 2022 | 12:05 am

Updated August 18, 2022 | 11:46 pm

Photo by Gage Johnson

It was a hard fought district battle between the Panthers and the Red Devils on Thursday, but it was Daviess County who prevailed 2-1 to remain undefeated and secure the top spot in the 9th District.

The Panthers came flying out of the gates, looking to set the tone and control the pace of play. This led to a big chance early, as junior Sam Glover sent the ball from the right side into senior Braden Dant in the box.

Dant put it on net, but junior Alex Carpenter made the save to keep the game scoreless five minutes in. Daviess County didn’t let up either as Glover got a shot at the top of the box in the 13th minute, but it clanged off of the crossbar.

Minutes later Owensboro got one of its first looks of the night courtesy of junior Sang Thang. From well outside the box in the middle of the pitch, Thang bent one with his right foot that hit the crossbar and went down and in to give them a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute.

Following the goal Carpenter was giving it his all in net, getting a piece of a shot from junior Eli Watkins in the 25th minute before it sailed out off of the crossbar once again. The junior keeper had done a great job of playing crosses in the box throughout the game, limiting Daviess County’s chances deep into the box much to the liking of Head Coach Ryan Haley.

“He’s new to the varsity game this season so he’s got a couple of games under his belt, but we haven’t faced anything I would call Daviess County caliber yet,” Haley said. “So I’m sure he was a bit nervous going in, but he looked calm, cool, collected and he really impressed me.”

Nothing came of the corner after the save by Carpenter and minutes later the Panthers would fall short again, as another header went wide on a cross into the box. But Daviess County was able to find the back of the net just before halftime thanks to Glover. 

Making a few juke moves on the right side, he crossed it to a wide open Sean Higgs who volleyed it into the right side of the net to even things up at 1-1 in the 37th minute.

The Panthers added even more pressure by bringing more numbers to the offensive side in the second half, as they were the first ones to break the tie. This time the ball got loose outside of the box and it found the feet of senior Dax Sandifer, who painted his shot with his left foot in the top left corner to give them a 2-1 lead in the 52nd minute.

Daviess County nearly added another goal to its lead minutes later on a nice through ball from senior Hayden Boswell, but senior Ahmed Abdullahi was called offside. But the Panthers continued to win the possession time battle, only allowing Owensboro off two decent looks in the final five minutes of play.

It was junior Peter Saang who was able to utilize his speed to create said chances, but both shots were off the mark and that would result in Daviess County coming away with a 2-1 win. Haley was thrilled with his team’s play, saying that they executed the gameplan well with limited numbers because of injury.

“I thought Daviess County did a very good job overloading our side,” Haley said. “We anticipated it and we gameplanned for it and I think we had a good little gameplan. I thought our guys played really well. They really rose to the occasion.”

Panthers Head Coach Doug Sandifer also praised the Red Devils and their gameplan, saying it was very difficult to get clean looks deep into the attacking third.

“Owensboro played really well,” Sandifer said. “They made things very hard on us. They sat back with some numbers and their counter attack was dangerous. I know they were missing a couple of key players, so that’s probably a strategy they felt was needed with that being the case.”

Owensboro’s defensive strategy of bringing a lot of numbers back to crowd the box is something Daviess County has seen before, but Sandifer said that they still need to figure out some kinks against it despite grabbing the win.

“We’ve faced these in multiple games now and some things we’re doing better against it,” Sandifer said. “It’s just a very hard thing to break teams down when you’ve got that many numbers in front of you. Overall it’s a district win and you take it and move on and try to just keep getting better.”

The Panthers now sit at 4-0 overall and 2-0 in district play, setting themselves up to go into a road matchup with Greenwood at 7 p.m. on Monday. But for now, Sandifer says rest first and move on to the next one.

“We had three games this week, so we’re going to give them the weekend off and come back Monday,” Sandifer said. “We’ve got a couple of games including a district game next week. We’re in a good position in the district with two wins early on, but we’ve got four more games in the district to play after this and all of them look like they’re going to be a test and a battle. It’s tough. It’s going to be an interesting district this year.”

Meanwhile the Red Devils fall to 1-2-1 and 0-2 in district play with tough losses to the Eagles and Panthers, as they will now take a day off before traveling to take on Glasgow at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

August 19, 2022 | 12:05 am

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