Panthers starting to hit their stride
CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. >> The last time the Hoosick Falls and Cambridge girls soccer teams faced off, the Indians scored the first two goals but the Panthers came back with four in the final minutes to win.
On Tuesday, Hoosick Falls scored the first two goals, but there was no Cambridge comeback as the Panthers won 5-1.
Darian Morgan had a hat trick for the Panthers as she leads the team in scoring.
"I think scoring quick got us the momentum and it boosts our confidence up to where we're into the game and focused," said Morgan, who tallied her 14th, 15th and 16th goals of the year.
The teams were even for the first 20 minutes of the contest before the Panthers broke through. Taylor Mann was the recipient of a precise through ball and Mann did the rest, putting the ball over Cambridge goalie Victoria Dupuis coming off her line for a 1-0 lead.
Moments later, Morgan scored the first of her three tallies, one-timing a perfect pass from eighth-grader Kylei Reubel into the net to double the advantage.
In the second half, Cambridge pressed up looking for a score and nearly got one, but senior captain and goalkeeper Sydney Miller was up to the challenge, making a kick save on a shot by Miranda Seacord as part of a strong Cambridge counter-attack. Then she got up high to snag a 30-yard boot from Helen Mooney to keep it 2-0.
"Syd is a key to our team, she always comes in and gets super-pumped," Morgan said. "She's a great player and we all love her, she's a great pick as a captain."
The defense led to another through ball opportunity that the Panthers took advantage of, Morgan scoring again, this time assisted by Angela Gonzalez, the team's assist leader, to give Hoosick Falls a little more breathing room.
"I think getting the third goal, and the last couple as a team, let us relax," Morgan said. "At 2-0, you're scrambling as a team, really nervous. [When we played] Lake George, they came back and beat us when we were up 2-0. So with a three-goal lead, we were able to play our game."
Down by three, Cambridge continued to battle for scoring opportunities and finally made the best of one with under 20 minutes to go. Mooney curled a corner kick toward the box and Lynn Brownell got a head to it, putting it past Miller to cut the lead to 3-1.
Dupuis and Miller each had nine saves on the afternoon.
The Panthers sealed the deal with 8:14 left when Gonzalez blasted home her fourth of the year off a direct kick just outside the box to make it 4-1 and then Morgan followed a minute later on a breakaway before burying the shot into the far post for the 5-1 final.
Hoosick Falls improves to 7-3-1 in the league and 7-4-1 overall. Cambridge drops to 4-7 in the league and 6-7 overall.
"We're planning to finish really strong, no more letups, finishing for our seniors," Morgan said.
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