High school girls soccer

In bookend encounters, Panthers write positive playoff chapter against Eagles

Medomak Valley opened campaign with 1-0 loss to Erksine Academy, enjoy redemption in quarterfinal
By Mark Haskell | Oct 30, 2019
Photo by: Mark Haskell Medomak Valley's Paige Powell heads the ball, while Erskine Academy's Haymanot Maynard, right, defends on Oct. 29 in high school girls soccer in South China. The visiting Panthers beat the Eagles 1-0 in a Class B South quarterfinal playoff game. In the background is Panther Zaniah Puchalski.

South China — The Medomak Valley girls began the regular season with a 1-0 loss at Erskine Academy.

Now as the sixth seed in Class B South, the Panthers had no intention of their high school soccer season ending on that same field — against that opponent — as the visitors dealt a bit of redemption against the No. 3 Eagles on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 29 in a quarterfinal playoff encounter.

Medomak Valley got a goal from Hannah Prock with 20:01 left in the first half — her only one of the season, so far, no less — and that goal stood as the Panthers clawed to a hard-fought, 1-0 win over the Eagles.

Watch video and see more photos below.

With the victory, Medomak Valley (11-3-2), which also defeated No. 11 Leavitt of Turner 2-0 in the prelims, advances to the semifinals, where it will play at No. 2 Yarmouth (12-2-1), after a 2-0 win over No. 7 York (9-7), on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 3 p.m.

Medomak Valley did not play the Clippers or Wildcats during the regular season.

Erskine Academy saw its season wrap at 10-3-2.

In Tuesday's game, Medomak Valley held an 11-7 edge in shots and 3-0 advantage in corner kicks.

Kayla Donlin made seven saves in net for the Panthers, while Taylor Shute made 10 stops for the Eagles.

“I think that first game of the season we came out flat,” said Medomak Valley coach Bri Morrill. “We totally underestimated their ability. I don’t think we came out that great today, in fact I’d say we were a little bit flat too.”

The game's offensive hero felt the Waldoboro-based Panthers were prepared.

"We were ready to go,” said Prock. “We faced them a while ago, but we knew what they were going to do [and] how they played and stuff like that and we were more prepared than we were at the beginning of the season.”

Both teams came out sluggish in the early stages, with the field wet from a steady drizzle that impacted the speed on both sides of the ball.

The middle third of the field saw the bulk of the action early as neither side generated quality chances, until Medomak Valley got itself on the board with 20:01 left in the first half.

Grace White possessed the ball on the left side of the attacking third and served the ball to Prock, who was left unmarked in the middle of the penalty area.

With her back to the approaching ball, Prock struck the ball with the inside of her right foot and, while she did not make clean contact, got enough on it to chip it over a leaping Shute and into the net with what proved to be the game-winning tally.

“It was luck I honestly think,” said Prock, who was a defender for much of the season but has logged minutes at forward as well the past few games. “I kicked it, hoped to God and there it was. My only goal of the season so far, so it was really exciting.”

“Those are two players that have been working really, really hard this season and maybe don’t get the recognition,” said Morrill of Prock and White. “So I think for that scenario to happen, it was the best thing for this game. Hannah was in the right place at the right time and Grace had a great hit.”

Erskine Academy’s Haymanot Maynard had a few quality chances on goal, but those opportunities sailed just wide of the right post or was gobbled up by Donlin.

Defensively, the trio of Zaniah Puchalski, Gabby Baughman and Julia Kunesh took away many 50/50 balls from Erskine Academy attackers and have anchored a defense that, through two playoff games, have allowed no goals.

Morrill said, “I think they’re one of best defenses in the [Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference].”

“They’ve been really great,” said Morrill of the trio. “Two sophomores [Puchalski and Kunesh] on the outside. They were pretty much straight jayvee players last year and they had to step into a varsity role this year. The growth I’ve seen from them and their athletic ability is amazing.”

Now, the Panthers have something going. And Prock, one of six seniors, has no intention of letting up now.

“I think the path for us to go all the way is there, and we’re just going to keep fighting.”

Medomak Valley at Erskine Academy girls soccer
Erskine Academy hosts Medomak Valley on Oct. 29 in high school girls soccer in South China. (Video by: Mark Haskell and Zack Miller)
Medomak Valley's Cameron Bains, left, and Hannah Prock, as well as Erskine Academy's Jordan Linscott. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valle's Cameron Bains, middle, and Erskine Academy's Kristin Ray, left, and Haymanot Maynard, right. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valle's Cameron Bains, right, and Erskine Academy's Kristin Ray, left. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valle's Cameron Bains, right, and Erskine Academy's Kristin Ray, left. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Annie Vannoy, middle, and Erskine Academy's Alyssa Savage, left. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Cameron Bains. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Alyssa Creamer, right, and Erskine Academy's Kristin Ray, left. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Alyssa Creamer, right, and Erskine Academy's Kristin Ray, left. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Gabby Baughman. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Sadie Cohen, left, and Annie Vannoy, right, as well as Erskine Academy's Sarah Praul. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Hannah Prock, left, and Erskine Academy's Madison Lully, right, Alyssa Savage, left, and Summer Hotham, back. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Hannah Prock, front, Annie Vannoy, back, and Autumn Ripley, right. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Hannah Prock, front, Annie Vannoy, left, and Autumn Ripley, right. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Alyssa Creamer, middle, and Erskine Academy's Summer Hotham, left, and Ally Rodrigue. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Alyssa Creamer, right, and Erskine Academy's Summer Hotham, left. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Alyssa Creamer, right, and Erskine Academy's Summer Hotham, middle, and Ally Rodrigue. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Grace White. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Grace White. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Grace White, right, and Erskine Academy's Emma Fortin. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Grace White, right, and Erskine Academy's Emma Fortin. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Abby Lash, right, and Erskine Academy's Tori Grasse, left. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Autumn Ripley, left, coach Bri Morrill, and Abby Lash, right. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Abby Lash, front, and Julia Kunesh, back. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Abby Lash, front, and Julia Kunesh, back. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Julia Kunesh, front, and Erskine Academy's Santasia Sevigny, right. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Grace White. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Annie Vannoy. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Annie Vannoy. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
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