League rival Leslie stalled the Panthers winning streak on April 12 in a tight 2-1 match at Leslie. From the starting whistle the Blackhawks used imposing ball control to press aggressively on offense. They kept the ball mostly in Stockbridge territory and repeatedly tested the Panther defense. But their hopes to get an early score were repeatedly crashed by the combined Panther defense. Goal keeper, Bethany Plennert, kept the Blackhawks from an early score by seizing five shots. She was backed up in her efforts by the Panther defense including key blocks from Baylee Heidrich and Paige Brown as well as a steal by Maria Risner.
Unable to score early, the Blackhawks couldn’t sustain the pace. A steal by Rachel Frazzini and a well placed pass by Megan Catron recharged the Panthers to pressure the Blackhawk goal. Shots against Leslie by Brittany Freiermuth and Sylvia Whitt gave the Panthers hope for a first score. Then, near the end of a scoreless first half, the Blackhawks captured a lucky rebound near the Panther goal and found the net to go up by one.
The second half saw recurrent midfield battles for ball possession with both teams making determined runs at their opponent’s goal. Shots by Megan Catron and Faith Whitt elevated the Panthers resolve to even the score. Then half way into the second half a Panther foul triggered a Blackhawk penalty kick, which Leslie converted.
Down by two the Panthers redoubled their efforts to score. Three times they battled the ball to within a yard of the Blackhawk goal. During one battle a Leslie foul drew a Panther penalty kick and Baylee Heidrich lit the Panther side of the score board by hitting the Leslie net. Energized by the goal the Panthers repeatedly captured the ball and charged Leslie trying to even the score. Evelyn Ortiz-Martinez made a key steal to put the ball back on the Leslie side of the field. Rachel Frazzini became a streak on sideline runs delivering the ball back into Blackhawk territory. Faith Whitt took a tenacious shot on goal late in the match, but then the clock ran out and the scoreboard showed Leslie ahead by one goal.
The Lady Panthers are now 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the GLAC.
They play host to the Cardinals of Michigan Center on Monday, game time is at 5:30.