Panthers declawed by Liberty Hawks

Porterville’s Yurida Angeles fights for the ball against Liberty at Jamison Stadium this past Tuesday. In the first round of the Division IV Central Section playoffs, the Porterville Panthers suffered a 1-0 loss to Liberty. (Kason Clark)

Porterville girls soccer suffers a 1-0 loss to Liberty in the first round of the Division IV Central Section playoffs; Panthers end their season with a record of 11-7-8

PORTERVILLE – With the postseason finally here, Porterville girls soccer had one goal in mind during its opening match: survive and advance. But against the No. 14 seed Liberty Hawks this past Tuesday night, that was easier said than done.

As the No. 3 seed, the Panthers got to host the first round of the Division IV Central Section playoffs at Jamison Stadium. But the Hawks were ready to travel as they took a lead in the first half and then held on for a 1-0 victory over Porterville. While his team’s season came to an early end, Porterville head coach Jacob Rivas appreciated that the Panthers battled until the clock ran out on Feb. 13.

“In the second half of that game, we played really hard. I really appreciate all the effort they put in,” Rivas said. “We got down early in the game and they sat back so it was tough to get one in. It’s just unfortunate.”

The Panthers did have their chances early on as they controlled the ball through chunks of the first half. However, they were never able to break through to score and take the lead. That allowed the Hawks to hang around.

With under 15 minutes left in the first half, the Hawks took the lead when Guadalupe Amezola ran past the Porterville defense and snuck her kick into the net for the score. The Panthers were unable to respond as they went into halftime trailing.

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Porterville’s Yannina Minguela dribbles the ball against Liberty. With their loss to Liberty, the Panthers were eliminated from the Division IV Central Section playoffs. (Kason Clark)

With their season on the line, the Panthers needed to score in the second half. They had their opportunities with corner kicks and several shots right at the goal. However, they were unable to capitalize on these opportunities as the Hawks kept them off the board.

“I just have to tip my hat off to the Liberty goalie and their defensive backline,” Rivas said about Porterville’s inability to score. “They did a good job and they kept us out so I just tip my hat to them.”

The Panthers continued to fight and claw until the clock finally ran out on the game and their season. With the loss, the Panthers ended their year with an overall record of 11-7-8. As they now head into the offseason, Rivas and the Panthers will be focusing on being more consistent than they were this past season.

“It was an up-and-down season,” Rivas said. “We started off really well and the wheels wobbled towards the end. That was a little unfortunate but we’ll get back to work in the offseason.”

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