TWIN FALLS - The Snake River Lady Panthers and the Fruitland Lady Grizzlies entered the A3 state soccer tournament as the two of the highest scoring teams in the tournament. When the eighty minutes of play ended, the Lady Panthers owned a 1-0 victory earned by stellar defense and terrific goal keeping.
“We knew that Fruitland was talented, fast and quick on the ball,” said Coach Randy Turpin. “Our girls just wanted it more today and we played a terrific game defensively to earn the win.”
The Lady Panthers came out on the pitch determined to score first and put the pressure on the Lady Grizzlies and their offensive attacks were rewarded when Sanni Ryhaennen was able to put the ball in the net from the left side of the goal box in the eleventh minute of play and the girls from Snake River would hold that lead going into the intermission.
“Fruitland was easily the fastest and quickest team that we have faced all year,” said Coach Turpin. “We proved that we are pretty quick and fast as well as we marked up their best two players and kept the ball out of the net today. Courtney (Steinbaugh) was great in the net today and turned away numerous shots on goal.”
While Steinbaugh was stellar in goal, it was the defense in front of her that kept the Lady Grizzlies on their heels for most of the game.
Kenna Jensen, Ruby Sanchez, Katie Hall and Kenzie Lynn all had a hand in the defensive pressure that kept the Lady Grizzlies at bay for the eighty minute contest.
“Ruby played as physical as she has all year and that kept their big guns off balance,” said Coach Turpin. “Kenna was superb at getting the ball out of the zone and together the girls were just awesome today, a total team effort.While the Lady Panthers defense was outstanding, the Lady Grizzlies proved to be up to the task as well, utilizing their great team speed to cut off the passing lanes that have led to many of the Lady Panther goals this season.
“This was just great today,” said goal keeper Courtney Steinbaugh. “This is the fourth straight year we have advanced to state and to come away with a win like this is super. The girls in front of me made my job so much easier today, but Fruitland is a good team and it was great to get this win.”
Fruitland came out of the intermission with renewed vigor and determination and mounted charge after charge into the Lady Panther zone only to be turned away.
On the few offensive opportunities that the Panthers could muster, either a key pass was intercepted, or the Grizzlie goal keeper was able to come up with the ball.
The win advances the Lady Panthers into the semi finals where they will take on Sugar Salem at 2:00 pm Friday afternoon. The Lady Panthers have faced the Diggers twice this year, both times coming away with wins, 5-0 and 2-1 during the regular season.
“This was just awesome today,” said Kenna Jensen. “A win like today makes all that hard work getting here worth while, but we have a lot of work left to do.”