Tough first half costly for Lady Panthers in playoffs
MADISON – The Amory girls fell short in their bid on Saturday to reach the North state soccer finals for the first time, falling on the road in a 5-1 loss to Germantown.
Germantown jumped out to a 4-0 halftime lead behind the efforts of Brooklyn Lambert and Darby Hughes, who combined for 4 goals and 3 assists.
“It’s disappointing. We wanted to go on a little further, but it just didn’t happen,” Amory coach Nathan Clayton said. “Germantown has a quality team. They’re going to be tough to beat in North half and state championships.”
Lambert knocked in her first goal in the third minute. Addie Forbus drove to the goal in the 16th minute and appeared to be in prime position to tie things up, but her shot bounced off the crossbar.
Hughes assisted on two of Germantown’s three goals in the 15 minutes before halftime, hooking up with Lambert on one goal and Avery Robinson on the other and also scoring the Lady Mavericks’ final goal of the half herself.
“Offensively, they’re very skilled on the ball, and they made us pay. Everytime we got out of position, they made plays,” Clayton said. “We played pretty well for the first 25 minutes. They got that second goal in the 26th and were just able to get two more really quick before the half on getting us out of space.”
Forbus put new life in Amory in the 55th minute, taking control of the ball around midfield and putting in the Lady Panthers’ only goal, but Lambert would score another just a minute later.
“It was a tough first half, but we made mistakes. We came out in the second half and didn’t shut down,” Forbus said. “We put a goal in the back of the net and kept fighting until the end. We had a small turnaround in the second half. We learned from our mistakes, and I expect these girls to go to North half next year.”
Clayton echoed the compliments of the Lady Panthers’ second half performance.
“We played better defensively in the second half than we ended the first half and kept playing hard. It would have been easy to shut down at halftime, but these girls kept playing,” he said. “They’ve got several girls that are all very skilled players. Even their defensive players did a great job setting up, changing direction and realigning when it came to switching sides.”
Germantown’s defense kept Forbus double- and triple-teamed for most of the game, something Clayton said has happened a lot over the past couple of seasons.
“As soon as she gets the ball, they want to put numbers on her. We had some other girls step up and make some good runs when they did that, and Addie did a good job of distributing the ball and getting it to them,” Clayton said. “Rachyl Hill had some good runs from the right side, and Gabby Hall and Kenley Stephens both had a few. But when you score 231 goals in your career, everyone knows who you are and where you are on the field.”
Finale for Forbus
Forbus, who broke the state record in career goals just a week ago, finished out her high school career with 231 goals. She scored 50 of those this season to lead the state for the second time in her career.
“This team has been my life for six years,” Forbus said. “Nothing beats getting to play with your best friends that you’ve grown up with and playing park and rec with since you were three. It’s the best feeling in the world to play with these girls for six years.”
Clayton said it was hard to describe what Forbus has meant to the Lady Panthers’ program over the past six years.
“She’s going to do big things at Ole Miss, and we’re excited for her,” Clayton said. “You can’t describe it in words how much she’s meant to our program. She’s a special player, not just what she does on the field, but everything she does off the field as well.”
Forbus, committed to Ole Miss since her sophomore season, makes it official on Feb. 6.
“It’s kind of bittersweet because I know there’s more soccer ahead, but this was a huge part of my soccer career. It was my foundation,” she said.
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About Melissa Meador
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