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Panthers women's soccer squad earns first win in home opener

UPEI Panthers rookie forward Madison Hurley, left, and Mount Allison Mounties defender Haruka Kashiwai go after a cross during the Panthers home opener.
UPEI Panthers rookie forward Madison Hurley, left, and Mount Allison Mounties defender Haruka Kashiwai go after a cross during the Panthers home opener. - Jason Malloy

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The UPEI Panthers women’s soccer team controlled the play in the first half but found themselves trailing the Mount Allison Mounties 1-0 at the half Friday during their home opener.

Katherine Ollerhead gave the visitors the lead in the 20th minute off a corner kick. The Mounties blocked shots from high-scoring areas and cleared balls out of harm’s way to hold on to the lead heading into the break.

“They did a really good job of basically stopping us (from) putting the ball in the net in that first half,” Panthers head coach Graeme McDonald said. “I said (to our squad), ‘Some of those times in those games, you have to find a way’ and I’m delighted we found a way.”

Jen Balderston tied the game 10 minutes into the second half and Lauren Clark gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead two minutes later and the Panthers went onto win 2-1.

The Panthers improved to 1-1-1 in Atlantic University Sport action.

“The girls stuck to the plan,” McDonald said. “We talked about not panicking no matter what happens. The girls showed me today that they have the drive, they have the intelligence and they have the character to stick to the plan.”

And for that they were rewarded with three more points as the Panthers have their best start in a few years as they look to get back to the post-season.

Ali Muise made two saves for the win while Sophie Austin stopped seven shots in the loss.

A couple of Panthers got hurt during the game, but the extent of the injuries was unknown after the game.

The Panthers host the Cape Breton Capers Sunday at 1 p.m.

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