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Panthers battle hard in loss to Wildcats

That goal tied the score at 2-2 and seemed to provide a jolt of momentum for the Panthers. But the Wildcats countered, and Milton was unable to answer in a 4-2 loss.

Still, head coach Mary Murphy was pleased with the fact that her team competed and that the issues that cost her team the game are things that can be fixed in time.

“We had some mental mistakes, but that’s fixable,” Murphy said. “Overall, I think we battled. Washington is a very good team, but things are looking good for us still. It’s still early in the season.”

The Panthers indeed did battle against the unbeaten Wildcats on a mild evening in late November. The game was scoreless until the 23rd minute when Washington went in front 1-0.

Phillips, one of the area’s top scoring threats a year ago, nearly tied the game at the 15-minute mark. The ball, though, bounced off the crossbar on a shot she launched up from the right side. Ten minutes later, Faith Scott found the back of the net from close range to tie the game at 1-1. Washington responded and led 2-1 going into halftime.

Milton was unfazed by the deficit and Phillips quickly turned things around off an assist from McKenzie Bucci.
“If Paige wouldn’t have gotten that goal, it would have been a difficult and very long second half. It was fun to watch,” Murphy said.

Grace Carr made several key saves throughout the game that prevented the Wildcats from stretching their lead.

“She made some good saves. She came up from JV and has come a long way. She’s getting more comfortable in the net and that’s important,” Murphy said.

Murphy said repetition and reminders are the key to helping the players correct the mental mistakes that can be the difference between victory and defeat.

“We have a lot of new kids. A lot of inexperience. We just have to reiterate it over and over. Burn it into their brains,” Murphy said.

Milton is 1-3-1 through its first four games and the Washington game is the only one that has been decided by more than a goal, a sign the Panthers continue to compete.

“We have to use this game as a learning tool and just keep working hard,” Murphy said.

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