2017-01-26 / Sports

Hair-raiser

Panthers, Lancers battle in Marmonte League girls’ soccer match on Tuesday
By Ramsey Abushahla
Special to the Acorn


KEEP YOUR HAIR IN THE GAME—Kate Manzione, a senior midfielder for the Newbury Park High girls’ soccer team, heads the ball during the Panthers’ 3-0 win against Thousand Oaks on Jan. 24 at home. 
Photos by MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers KEEP YOUR HAIR IN THE GAME—Kate Manzione, a senior midfielder for the Newbury Park High girls’ soccer team, heads the ball during the Panthers’ 3-0 win against Thousand Oaks on Jan. 24 at home. Photos by MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers GIRLS’ SOCCER /// Newbury Park 3, Thousand Oaks 0

The Panthers made a statement in a Conejo Valley clash.

Newbury Park High’s girls’ soccer team erupted for three second-half goals in a 3-0 win against Thousand Oaks on Jan. 24 at home.

The Panthers (6-3-3 overall, 3-0-2 in league) penetrated the Lancers’ defense in the 46th minute when senior forward Tara McKeown delivered a goal.

McKeown chipped in her second goal 11 minutes later. Junior midfielder Glory Smith notched Newbury Park’s final goal off an errant clear attempt with 21 minutes remaining in the match.

“I think it was good for us to finally have everyone,” McKeown said. “We just kept the ball and got in our rhythm tonight.”


THE WAY WE GET BY—Thousand Oaks’ Allison Medley, left, and Newbury Park’s Kaitlyn McKeown chase the ball during Tuesday’s Marmonte League match. Both teams resume action on Friday night. THE WAY WE GET BY—Thousand Oaks’ Allison Medley, left, and Newbury Park’s Kaitlyn McKeown chase the ball during Tuesday’s Marmonte League match. Both teams resume action on Friday night. The Panthers made crucial adjustments at halftime.

“We started going wider because they were compacting the middle,” McKeown said. “That helped open (the field) up.”

McKeown, who is bound for USC in the fall, had her tonsils removed earlier this season, missing two weeks of action. She will also miss next week’s games to attend a camp with Team USA’s youth team.

Smith returned from a knee injury on Tuesday. Senior center back Jules Oswald, who injured her ankle against Agoura on Jan. 20, started but played sparingly in the first half. Kaitlyn McKeown, Tara’s sister, played against Thousand Oaks after undergoing surgery on her wrist.


RHYTHM AND SOUL—Thousand Oaks junior defender Haley Merrill controls the ball during a Marmonte League match at Newbury Park. RHYTHM AND SOUL—Thousand Oaks junior defender Haley Merrill controls the ball during a Marmonte League match at Newbury Park. “It’s next player up,” Newbury Park head coach Tony Cortez said. “I’ve got no choice. I just have to deal with it, and the girls that are here should be able to handle that. We have confidence in them, and they should have confidence in themselves. We’ve got a lot of girls that can do a lot of great things.”

Newbury Park’s quality depth has allowed the team to build momentum, but the Panthers have big matches coming up.

“It’s going to be fun,” Cortez said. “Everybody in our league is competitive. Nothing is going to be easy.”

Thousand Oaks (4-9-1, 1-4-0) struggled on offense, failing to get a single shot off.

The Lancers, however, have made big strides from last season when the squad finished with a 3-19-1 overall record.

Aaliyah Porter, a right back, is a freshman to watch. She played stout defense against Newbury Park, marking McKeown in the first half.

“She is just really dynamic,” Thousand Oaks head coach Clay Cameron said of Porter. “She’s super fast and really athletic. She played striker on her club team, but we’ve been playing her as an outside back because of her speed. She’s done excellent. For a freshman to be put into the starting lineup and going up against some of the talent up front in the Marmonte League, she’s really holding her own. She's been so impressive to me.”

Devyn Daniels and Haley Merrill, both juniors, also played well on defense for Thousand Oaks.

Erica Hicks, Brittany Ehret, Brittney Clancy, Gabrielle Trujillo, Julia Didziulis, Allison Medley, Haley Isaak, Allison Devine and Nicole Miller are seniors for Thousand Oaks.

The Lancers will try to bounce back from this setback. It’s still an invaluable learning experience for the younger players on the roster.

“They make errors because they’re young, but at the same time, they’re good players,” Cameron said. “They’re going to be good for the next couple of years.”

In the hyper-competitive Marmonte, every match is important.

“When you play at this level and you have success like this, there’s nothing better and more valuable than confidence,” Cortez said. “Days like today hopefully help build that, because we haven’t reached our peak yet. We’ll see how that works out.”

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