By Brad Fauber
STEPHENS CITY -- Sherando's girls soccer team fell at home to Potomac Falls, 4-1, on Monday evening, but the Warriors came away with some valuable experience.
"I'm glad we got to see a team like that," Warriors coach Rob Kilmer said. "We're looking conference-wise and things like that -- they're not in our conference but they're from that area. It's a good team. We showed at times tonight that we certainly can compete with that. I'm very pleased."
Potomac Falls (1-0) controlled much of the possession early on, but Sherando (1-1) nearly got on the board first when junior Audra Sites' header attempt in the box off a corner kick just sailed over the crossbar.
The Panthers broke through for the match's first goal in the 18th minute, when sophomore forward Becca Voyack sent a perfect cross pass to a wide open Daliya Saadoon, who fielded the ball and planted into the back of the net to give Potomac Falls a 1-0 lead.
The Warriors mounted a late surge in the final 12 minutes of the first half, but the Panthers took a one-goal lead into halftime.
Potomac Falls came out more physical in the second half, as the Panthers fired 14 shots compared to just four for Sherando.
"We told them to stop letting a team like this push us around. We are a tiny team. I think our average height is maybe 5-2, so I told them to kind of quit letting them beat you to the ball and be aggressive back," Panthers coach Lisa Beezer said.
Potomac Falls' initial attempts at another goal were thwarted by a pair of saves by Warriors junior keeper Akira Irving, and Sherando nearly tied the match at 1-all in the 52nd minute. Warriors junior forward Victoria Dean got loose behind the Panthers' defense on a deep ball and beat Potomac Falls keeper Olivia Camera for a goal, but the score was wiped off as Dean was ruled offside.
"The goal [Dean] scores and they call it back, I think it popped us like a balloon," Kilmer said. "But as I told the girls, good teams can't let that happen. You've got to let it fuel you to go get the next one."
The Panthers added their second goal just three minutes later, as freshman Maggie Moorcones scored off an assist by senior Emily Printz to extend Potomac Falls' lead to 2-0.
Printz tallied her own goal in the 62nd minute off a Courtney Garofolo assist, and junior Mia Watson became the fourth different Panther to tally a goal in the game when her chip shot banked in off the right post with five minutes to play.
Sherando scored with four minutes left when Dean fired a shot into an open net after a scramble for the ball in the penalty box.
Potomac Falls held a 21-9 shot advantage over Sherando for the match, but Irving did tally 12 saves for the Warriors.
"That's her first soccer game ever, and she made some good saves tonight," Kilmer said.
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @BradFauberNVD