The Cabot Lady Panthers picked up a tight 2-1 win over North Little Rock on the soccer field in their final match before the Class 7A State Tournament.
The win secured the third seed for the Panthers, while the Lady Charging Wildcats were put in the fourth spot in the conference. Mount St. Mary finished first, while Little Rock Central finished second.
North Little Rock made it hard on Cabot’s offense by keeping the ball in the air and limiting the Lady Panthers passing. They also kept players tight around their goal, limiting Cabot’s open shots, but also hindering their own offense.
Still, Cabot was able to get on the board first when Amalie Gunn cleaned up a blocked shot for the 1-0 lead.
The scored stayed like that through halftime for the Lady Panthers. Cabot came out in the second half and was able to be a little more aggressive, winning free kicks and corner kicks. Braxton Reed gave Cabot a 2-0 lead after a free kick when her ball hit the top crossbar and bounced down into the goal.
North Little Rock scored soon after when they began playing more girls forward, away from their own goal. The Lady Wildcats got a goal on a free kick that snuck just past Katie Estes.
Cabot moved Leelee Denton into the midfield from that point to be able to challenge more balls in the air. That helped to slow down North Little Rock’s offense as the final 20 minutes went by without a score.
The Lady Panthers grabbed a share of the conference title with the win with a 6-1 record. It also gave the girls the third seed out of the Central, as they prepare to play Rogers Heritage in the state tournament on Thursday.
“I like the path in front of us in the tournament,” said coach Kerry Castillo. “I think it is one we can conquer and put ourselves in the state finals. It won’t be easy, but I have faith that these girls can meet the challenge.”