Panthers roar to opening round victory

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HOOSICK, N.Y. — The No. 4 seed Hoosick Falls girls soccer team took a little while — approximately a half-hour — to get going on Saturday in the team's Section II, Class C playoff opener against No. 13 Middleburgh.

It also took an opening goal from Knights junior Kelsey Terrell to wake up the Panther offense.

Twenty seconds later, senior Darian Morgan scored the first of her three goals in a 10-minute span and Hoosick Falls roared back for a 5-1 win to advance.

"As a team we got really frustrated, we knew what we were coming into," said Morgan, whose tallies gave her 19 on the year. "We're on our own field and we know we can beat anyone if we play the way we're supposed to. We weren't doing it for the first few minutes and after they scored, I think it really pushed us and woke us up."

After Terrell scored on a long shot from distance, Morgan took the opening kickoff, made her way through the Middleburgh defense and hit a left-footed shot far post to tie it.

Three minutes later, Morgan received a beautiful feed from Taylor Mann and converted with another low, hard shot past the Middleburgh keeper to take a 2-1 lead.

Mann had a goal and two assists, including on both of Morgan's goals at the end of the first half.

"When they scored, we knew we had to get out of this," Mann said. "Darian [and I] gave each other a look and saw [midfielder] Angela [Gonzalez] and she knew what we meant and we just finished strong."

Morgan and Mann weren't done. As time ticked away on the first half, Mann sent Morgan a through ball, Morgan beat her defender 1-on-1 and upped the lead to two in the final moment of the half.

"That flurry changed the whole game," said Hoosick Falls coach Tom Husser. "It brought them down and put us up on cloud nine. We came out lethargic, but all three of those goals were all on through balls and great runs.

"I love to score [goals] but I also love seeing my teammates score, especially when I'm the one getting them the ball," Mann said.

Hoosick kept the pressure on in the second half and scored eight minutes in when Skyelyn Haynes cleaned up on a scramble in front of the Middleburgh net.

"Skye is everywhere, I would hate to play against her," Husser said. "The team thrives off Skye, it's contagious and she brings out the best in us. She's played all over the field this year, but they want her in the box because she's perpetual motion and throws everything she has to get to the ball."

The two senior strikers reversed roles on the final goal, with Morgan getting a through ball to Mann, who potted her 22nd goal of the campaign.

"It's definitely hard, as a striker, a lot of pressure is on you, especially in sectional games, to be the finisher," Morgan said. "Taylor and I work well together, when we need to get it done, we do."

The Panthers move on to play No. 5 Cairo-Durham, a game scheduled for Tuesday at the Helft Soccer Complex, a final home game for the team's six seniors.

"I've played on this field since I was five, so leaving will be hard, but we want to go out with a bang," Morgan said.


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