Thursday, August 31, 2017
Desert Oasis High School
Palo Verde High School
The Panthers JV notched their second victory of the season and remained undefeated with an impressive result away to Desert Oasis. The Panthers dominated the game from start to finish and scored four goals that were all of the highest quality. Starting line up: Diaz, Grunwald, Stodick, Franco, Clair, Posada, McGee, Wener, Hayes, Gray, Cowles.
The Panthers started on the front foot and took the game to the Desert Oasis defense. With Luke McGee and Cole Wener pulling the strings in midfield and the very impressive Lamar Hayes on the left side, the Panthers were pulling the Desert Oasis defense in different directions exposing gaps and creating opportunities. The break through game after just five minutes with what was the goal of the game. McGee received a lateral pass from Wener 35 yards out and fed an excellent ball inside the full back to Hayes. Hayes showed his extreme pace to run behind the Desert Oasis defense and he delivered a perfect driven ball behind the defensive line. Ricky Gray was steaming towards goal and did well to get his head and knee over the ball to deliver a powerful finish left footed leaving the goalkeeper helpless. The Panthers continued to press for the remainder of the half. However, Desert Oasis did pose a threat and one ball behind the defense resulted in a shot that brought an excellent save with an outstretched left foot from goalkeeper Yahir Diaz. The Panthers squandered a number of opportunities at the other end and should have ended the half further ahead.
The same pattern continued in the second half with the Panthers dominating possession while Desert Oasis posed a threat on the counter attack. Starting line up: Probst, Grunwald, Stodick, Franco, Trevor Wattles, Connor Wattles, Ruffer, Schutze, Parker, Kanater, Gray, Mohamed.
The Panthers were quickly all over the Desert Oasis defense and created a number of chances that were spurned or saved by the keeper. The break through came 10 minutes into the half from one of a string of corners that Desert Oasis failed to clear. Nour Kanater was showing that his corner taking was exemplary and played a deep effort to the back post where Noah Grunwald finished impressively with a header. Headed goals are a rarity at this level and it was pleasing to see such a fine example of the art. Desert Oasis managed one counter attack that resulted in a fine near post save from Kyle Probst but from the midway point of the half the Panthers were totally dominant. If not for some poor finishing and a bit of bad luck this could have been a victory by an embarrassing margin. In an effort to gain some traction in the game Desert Oasis started playing their back line much higher and this was their undoing. Connor Schutze was pulling the strings in midfield. His close control and vision were creating opportunities for the Panther’s attack. A string of excellent through balls put Gray in on goal, which resulted in a couple of excellent efforts on goal. The first saw Gray strike the right post with only the goalkeeper to beat and the second saw him strike the left post under the same conditions. Clearly, lady luck was shining on Desert Oasis. Gray was switched for the pacey Hayes and the opportunities kept coming. Put clean through on goal, Hayes made no mistake with the finish one-on-one with the keeper. Desert Oasis were getting desperate and were conceding free kicks in dangerous positions. Sebastian Franco came close with one free kick effort that went just over the crossbar. He was finally rewarded with an assist from a free kick out on the right side. He faked to cross and slipped the ball to Hayes who finished impressively from the edge of the area with a powerful left foot shot. Hayes was unfortunate not to complete his hat-trick when he chipped the ball over the keeper and narrowly over the crossbar off another excellent through ball. The JV use of width, comfort on the ball, and excellent team play has set the standard for this team. They are a joy to watch. Final Score 4-0.