On a wet field, in the second Sectional 43 semifinal game Thursday night at Park Tudor, the Panthers sunk Covenant Christian’s season. Park Tudor won 3-1 and advanced to the sectional championship.
Samantha Schwab beat Covenant Christian junior goalkeeper Nadia Fulk in the sixth minute of the game for a 1-0 Park Tudor lead.
Covenant equalized on its second shot of the game off a free kick. Covenant’s Drew Ester-Bode’s arching free kick toward the far post looked harmless, but the ball bounced off Park Tudor’s goalkeeper’s palms and into the side netting.
“As a defender, we don’t really get many of those opportunities,” Ester-Bode said. “It’s really a blessing to have an opportunity like that. As a defender, we don’t really get a whole lot of the glory on those goals, so to hear the crowd yelling, that’s real encouragement.”
Covenant coach Theron Smith said the goal was really big.
“We built off of it,” he said. “We stepped our game up and really took it to ‘em. We had the ball in the attacking third for the majority of the half after she hit that. It was definitely well needed.”
Covenant had another free kick in a dangerous location as the half neared its end. Ester-Bode’s kick — this one from the right side — was a mirror image of its predecessor, but Park Tudor’s goalkeeper caught it cleanly.
Covenant did not attempt a shot in the second half as the Warriors’ heavy reliance on through balls did not net positive results.
At the 23:40 mark of the second half, Park Tudor tallied the game-winner.
In the post-game huddle, Smith said the team thanked the seniors.
“They came out and fought so hard,” he said. “They helped us out so much this year, so a lot of it was basically trying to give our thanks and respects to the seniors to make sure we send them off the right way.”