It’s a rare day when Alden Adams is kept out of the scoring column.
On a muddy Tuesday afternoon, however, the Panthers received goals from other sources, while Adams made his presence felt in other ways. The junior striker played a part as distributor as M-CHS tallied two first-half goals en route to a 2-0 victory over visiting Bayfield. The Panthers (5-8, 3-1 3A IML) carved through the Wolverine (1-11, 1-4 3A IML) defense throughout the opening 40 minutes, before leaning on their defense to preserve the shutout in the second half.
The contest opened with both teams using the wing space to open up opportunities, much resembling the 5-3 goal fest that went the Panthers’ way a few weeks prior.
Bayfield had the best of the early chances, when junior Jason Schneider found himself with space at the top corner of the box, only to fire wide of the near post. Moments later, senior teammate Mattia DeBello fired from long range but couldn’t test M-CHS senior goalkeeper Stevie Fuentes.
As the action charged from end to end, it wasn’t long before the Panthers had scoring chances of their own. Adams, who owns 14 of the team’s goals this season, and sophomore teammate Rodrigo Marquez provided diagonal runs to the corners, giving the Bayfield backline fits all afternoon.
Using his pace to outrun the Wolverine defense after a long pass in the 19th minute, Adams lifted a looping ball into the box. Marquez took the ball out of the air on the first touch, sending an arcing shot over the head of Bayfield goalkeeper Bailee Blakeslee and into the corner of the net, tallying his fourth goal of the season.
Already up a goal, the Panthers began to gain confidence, working the ball through the midfield. Sophomore Cavin Martinez and senior Michael Diaz controlled possession, won a majority of 50-50 balls and helped contain DeBello, the Wolverines’ leading scorer, for the whole 80 minutes.
Another long ball from Diaz set up Adams in the corner again, and this time, the junior beat a pair of defenders along the end line before clanging an angled shot off the crossbar.
Diaz would only have to wait a few more moments before his high-energy play was rewarded. Running free on the right wing, a Panthers pass caught Diaz in stride, who sent a powerful shot into the lower corner, doubling the M-CHS lead three minutes before halftime.
From there, the Panthers backline took over, forcing the Wolverines into long-range shots. Sophomore Bruce Cudkowicz and senior Kameron Daves Owens helped clogged passing lanes.
The Panthers picked up their fifth win in six outings in their season sweep of the Wolverines. On Saturday, Oct. 13, the Panthers look to continue their resurgence at home against Pagosa Springs at 11 a.m.