Making the stops: Big saves by Cortez goalie help Panthers shut out Warriors
Sometimes a goalie is just on.
That was the case Saturday as Miriah Edwards, a junior goalkeeper for Montezuma-Cortez High School, consistently found ways to stop shots in a 2-0 victory over Central at Walker Field.
Edwards logged 14 saves on Central’s 19 shots. Even when the Warriors had seemingly open looks, Edwards would dive across the goal, keeping Central’s offense at bay.
“She came up big,” Cortez coach Bobby Sitton said. “From forwards to backs, everybody played good quality defense, put on some good back pressure and our keeper came up big when she needed to.”
The Warriors fell behind in the 24th minute when Dominique Wilkin scored from just inside the penalty area.
As the Warriors attempted to come back, Central couldn’t find ways to capitalize on open looks at the net.
“Soccer’s kind of a game like that,” Central forward Haleigh Higgins said. “You can play a good game and sometimes your shots won’t fall, and that’s the unlucky part about it.”
The Warriors kept up pressure on both ends of the field, but were taken out of the game in the 66th minute when Arianna Herrera fouled Cortez’s Shelby Janz in the penalty area. Janz made the penalty kick to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead.
“That took the wind out of our sails,” Central coach Doug Beach said.
Central made several late attempts to score, including a free kick by Higgins outside the penalty area that hit a defender, and a last-minute shot from Stacey Kinnett that sailed just over the crossbar.
The shutout of the Warriors was the second in two days, and the team has scored only one goal in the past three games.
Lynzee Dwyer last scored for the Warriors (3-3) on March 12 against Pine Creek.
But with three freshmen starting at the midfield and forward positions, Central is still working on finding its groove.
“I just don’t think we really found our chemistry yet as a team,” Higgins said. “It’s frustrating, but we’ll get there.”
On the defensive end, the Warriors got a lift from the return of Raea Maickel, who was out with an injury.
“Now that we’ve got Raea back on the defense, we’re going to be able to move people around to where they’re actually comfortable,” Beach said.
With a game Tuesday against Fruita Monument, Central is focused on improving its offensive opportunities.
“We just need two more passes in that third (of the field) and we’ll have our goals,” Beach said. “Once we get going, I don’t think you’ll be able to stop us.”