By Rob Potter
GRAHAMSVILLE September 8, 2000 For the second consecutive year, the Monticello Lady Panther soccer team began its season by winning a pair of games to capture first place in the Tri-Valley Soccer Tournament.
Monticello (20) downed host Tri-Valley (11) 2-0 Wednesday afternoon in the championship game of the 11th annual tournament.
Both of the Lady Panther goals in the championship match came off of the foot of Kelly Bennett, whom the participating coaches chose as the tournaments Most Valuable Player.
With 31:36 remaining in the first half, Bennett had the ball on a breakaway in the Tri-Valley end of the field. As she approached the net and Lady Bear goalie Megan Sheeley, Bennett kicked the ball from about 15 yards out. The ball quickly headed for the right corner of the net and escaped the diving Sheeley.
Bennett added her second goal 12 minutes into the second half, when she kicked the ball into the left corner of the net off a pass from teammate Amanda Drobysh. As with the first goal, the sphere just eluded Sheeleys hands and curled up in the net.
Shes probably one of our best all-around players, first year Monticello coach Kristi Dean said of Bennett. Shes a great player and a great kid.
Dean also praised the performance of goalkeeper Erin Shuart, who recorded eight saves in the match.
Dean noted that Tri-Valley was a tough team and a good challenge for her squad.
Were starting the season on a great note, Dean said. We play in a tough league, but were ready.
The final score could have easily been 3-0 or 4-0, but Sheeley made some great saves for the Lady Bears. She finished the day with 16 stops.
No matter the score, the loss was disappointing for Tri-Valley.
As good as we played yesterday, I was surprised by our play today, said coach Mary Feusner. We were back on our heels letting them dictate the play instead of taking it to them. We were standing back instead of contending for 50/50 balls.
Chester held on to defeat Eldred 4-3 in the consolation final. Thanks to two goals by Tonya Hipsman, and goals by Jenn Rodriguez and Michele Krause, Chester (11) turned a 1-0 halftime deficit into a 4-1 lead with sixteen minutes left in the game.
Eldred (02), however, stormed back with two goals. With 13:35 left in the contest, Ashley Schneider scored as a group of players attempted to control the ball in front of the Chester goal cage.
Seven minutes later she scored again to cut the Chester lead to a lone goal. But with darkness quickly setting in and the final few minutes ticking off the clock, the Lady Yellow Jackets could not score an overtime-forcing goal.
Aimee Schneider scored Eldreds first half goal and goalie Christine Hallock made 20 saves for the Lady Yellow Jackets.
In addition to Bennett, several other players earned accolades at the tournament. Tri-Valley senior midfielder Kelsi Lockhart earned the Miss Sportsmanship trophy for her fair play during the two-day event. Fellow Lady Bears Jamie Kenney, Alesia Rexford and Sheeley earned spots on the all-tournament team.
Also named to the all-tournament team were Bennett, Vanessa Francis (Chester), Meghan Garry (Monticello), Meg Hipsman (Chester), Jenn Rodriguez (Chester), Aimee Schneider (Eldred), Sam Tucker (Monticello) and Loretta Wolff (Eldred).
On Tuesday, Monticello defeated Chester by a 4-2 margin and Tri-Valley knocked off Eldred, 3-1, to advance to the final.
In Tuesdays win over Eldred, three Tri-Valley players scored. Liz Lowe, Heidi Manell and Emily Moore each tallied one goal and Manell added an assist.
Aimee Schneider recorded the only Eldred goal.
In Tuesdays other opening round contest, Monticellos Amanda Drobysh, Megan Drobysh, Meghan Gerry and Sam Tucker each scored a goal in the win over Chester. Amanda Drobysh and Tucker each had an assist in the game.