For varsity men’s soccer, the Panther Spring Bash spelled victory. “We finished in the top spot,” coach Matt Gillispie said, “and we get to put a trophy in the high school trophy case.”
Saturday’s first match was against Millbrook, a double-A school near Winchester. “They are very well coached,” Gillispie said. “They’re a good team – very skilled. I knew they were gonna be a hard challenge for us.”
“In the first half, which was very competitive, Tanyon Lee punched in two phenomenal unassisted goals,” Gillispie said. “Just outside the 18 on the first one, and the second shot was probably 25, 30 yards out. They were two rocket shots. The keeper barely made an attempt. Tanyon’s shots were driven with super velocity into the upper part of the net.”
Several other Panthers played into the win. “Freshman Ben Estes gets credit,” Gillispie said. “He did a super job in the goal and made some great saves. Our defense held strong with James White as the anchor in center back position. Our right back and left back, Billy Hogan and John Letsen, were another part of our win.
“It’s a game we took away from Millbrook. When we played Skyline [March 16], we should’ve won. We out-shot them. We shot two times more than them. It was 0-0 until there were just minutes left,” Gillispie said. “Then they scored on a free kick. We out-possessed and out-shot them, yet we let that game slip away. So, basically, we lost a game we should’ve won. Now, we get it back.”
Millbrook’s loss to the Panthers was definitely an upset. “I told the other coach that they out-possessed the ball and shut us down in the second half,” Gillispie said, “but it’s all about finishing. We finished with two and they finished with one.”
Game Two came at 3. “It was pretty much total domination by us,” Gillispie said proudly. “We had possession of the ball 80, 85 percent of the game. That gave us the opportunity to work on passes. The first half saw a 3-0 lead with goals by Lee and Amrit Tamang. Tanyon got injured late in the first game, so he was playing injured.”
In second half, Quantico scored and made it 3-1. Shortly after that, John Letsen answered with a goal, followed by Clayton Hatcher’s scoring kick to end the game at 5-1.
“I was real excited for the boys, and they were excited themselves, of course,” Gillispie said. “They held up the trophy out there on the field. That’s huge for us.”
The Panthers hosted James Wood Wednesday night (March 30). Results will appear in next week’s Rappahannock News.