By RJ Walters / Daily News Sports Editor
As published in the Hillsdale Daily News on April 16, 2009
Parma Western forward Colleen Healey scored on the first shot of the game Wednesday, while Hillsdale forward Andi Cochran clanked a shot off the Panthers’ crossbar three minutes later — a microcosm of a disheartening home loss for the Hornets.
Coming off two wins to open the season Hillsdale (2-1) could never quite mount sustaining attacks and Western (2-1) made the Hornets pay for most of their mistakes in an 8-0 mercy-rule victory by the Panthers.
“The first two games we played were against a lot different type of teams,” Hillsdale head coach Dean Potter said. “Western is power program and ideally we didn’t want to play them at the beginning of the season. But we can kind of look at the video from today and learn from it and hopefully it will motivate us for future games.”
After the initial goal woke them up, the Hornet girls had the ball on their opponents’ side of the field much of the first half, but Hornet defenders had trouble clearing the ball on several occasions and the midfielders and forwards were unable to cohesively move the ball around for great lengths of time.
Potter said his girls need to do a better job of spacing the field, especially against a team as adept at passing as Western is.
Those characteristics coupled with plenty of savvy and patience from the Panthers quickly turned the game into a rout after Western’s Gwen Burns scored on a long cross from Lauren Bacon, to make it 2-0 with 15:05 left in the first half.
Two more balls hit the back of the net before the intermission, with midfielder Samantha Barclay and defender Amber Chambers adding goals at the 5:02 and :45 marks.
Hillsdale came out aggressive in the second half, but long passes just weren’t connecting and Western continued to play a calculated game that involved very few risks.
At the 36:20 marker Hornet goalie Mallory Condon slipped and an instance later Bacon rolled in her second goal. Condon was done for the day and the Panthers were clearly in control.
It was quite a fruitful day for Western considering they came into the contest having scored just one goal in the team’s first two games.
Mary Stoner and Barclay scored goals, before midfielder Becca Gaarde put an end to the game at the 6:18 mark.
Quinn McGill picked up the clean-sheet in net for the Panthers.
The Panthers put 13 shots on goal to the Hornets six and Hillsdale had eight saves to Western’s two.
Despite the tough defeat Potter said he was pleased with the effort on both ends of the field, and he saw glimpses of things he really liked, just not enough consistency.
Potter also said he expects the team to continue to gel and improve, something the Hornets have shown they are capable of the last few seasons.
“We seem to peak toward the end of the year, as you know, with us making the district finals the last two seasons,” he said.