GIRLS SOCCER Spartans winner by a goal
Fitch dropped its SVC opener.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
AUSTINTOWN -- The stars came out at Austintown Fitch Stadium Wednesday night. And they didn't wait for nightfall.
Boardman High's lightning-fast juniors Maggie Mills and Janeen Masternick squared off with the Falcons' junior speedster, Michelene Pancoe in a Steel Valley Conference matchup.
Mills and Pancoe each scored twice. Masternick had an assist and scored the deciding goal as Boardman squeaked past Fitch, 3-2.
"We play a certain technique," said Boardman coach Fawzi Mujahed. "We focus the girls on one side and try to switch it to the middle. That's how we score."
The SVC rivals played even for much of the first half until Masternick found Mills with 14 minutes, 8 seconds remaining. Pancoe answered just three minutes later to tie the score at 1 at the half.
Boardman quickly regained the lead in the second half with both Mills and Masternick scoring unassisted goals in the first eight minutes.
"I just did whatever I could to get the ball in," said Mills. "I didn't care how."
Five minutes later, Pancoe again answered. But Fitch could do no more damage in dropping their conference opener.
Player's gift: "We have good speed up top, but they do too," Falcon coach Randy Pratt said. "Masternick poses some problems because of her great speed."
Pancoe, who missed half of last season with an ankle injury, and sophomore Sarah Baker created problems for the Spartans, but couldn't break through.
"Mickey's [Pancoe] is a great athlete, but defenders tend to key in on her," said Pratt. "We didn't take full advantage of our chances."
Fitch out-shot Boardman 16-14 and had plenty of opportunities to score in the second half, but Spartan keeper Lauren Callahan made several key saves and the defense forced Fitch into tough shots. Senior Jeanne Sutton and freshman Lauren Sirak used their speed to disturb the Fitch offense.
Callahan finished with 10 saves for Boardman (5-2, 2-0). Alison Chasko had seven saves and Jessica Sprowl added two saves for Fitch (3-3, 0-1). Katy Banks had the assist on Pancoe's first goal.