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Goalkeeper Leyse Smith Shines For Maumee In Win At Napoleon

Maumee junior midfielder Maegan Seeman controls the ball during a September 20 game against Bowling Green. Seeman helped the Panthers to wins over both Northwood and Napoleon last week. MIRROR PHOTO BY JOE NEGRICH

BY ANDY ROWER | MIRROR SPORTS — Maumee’s girls soccer team closed out its regular season with an overall record of 7-9 and a Northern Lakes League mark of 2-5 after playing to a 1-0 victory at Napoleon on a cold and rainy October 10 evening. The Wildcats began the game as the aggressors, with players such as senior defender Kimmi Jacobsen, junior defender Rachel Blackwood, classmate and midfielder Megan Richardson, sophomore midfielder Emily Bostelman and classmate and defender Abby Naas keeping the ball largely on the Panthers’ side of the field, where Richardson and senior midfielder McKenna Peckinpaugh combined for three shots over the night’s first 10:30. One of the two saves Maumee sophomore keeper Leyse Smith made on the attempts was spectacular. Smith also made a nice play out of net during the stretch and got additional defensive help from Panthers juniors Faith DeArmond, Paige Loboschefski and Abbe Rank and sophomore midfielder Chayah Keller. Maumee next took advantage of its only real scoring opportunity of the first half, when sophomore forward Zoe Ramirez scored on an assist from senior midfielder Lauren Johnson in the 15th minute. Napoleon’s Peckinpaugh, Richardson and junior midfielder Hailey Small went on to combine for the final five shots of the opening half, but the Panthers’ Smith, Johnson, sophomore sweeper Natalie Winkle and freshman midfielder Kelsey Walborn proved up to the challenge. Having held on to its one-goal lead through halftime, Maumee adopted the role of attackers to start the second stanza. Despite the continued defensive pressure of the Wildcats’ Rachel Blackwood, Jacobsen, Richardson and junior midfielder Savannah Lawson, the Panthers’ Johnson, Keller and Walborn combined to take four unanswered shots over the first 16:03. Napoleon responded with a trio of attempts from Lawson, Peckinpaugh and Richardson over the next few minutes, but Smith notched saves on all three – including another for the highlight reel. The contest’s final 20:00 was a standoff. The Wildcats got offensive looks from Peckinpaugh and freshman Grace Hopkins and tough defense by senior midfielder Alexis Schulte, but Maumee kept its 1-0 advantage by getting late offensive looks by Walborn and additional strong defense from DeArmond, Loboschefski and Walborn. Peckinpaugh and the Wildcats ended up outshooting the Panthers 12-7 and taking five corner kicks, despite the tough loss. Napoleon senior keeper Bethany Blackwood finished with three saves and got extra defensive help from senior Kara Butler. Smith racked up 10 saves during her fourth shutout of the year, and senior midfielder Maegan Seeman played well on both sides of the ball in the Maumee victory. After totaling eight wins over the previous three seasons combined, the Panthers (No. 6) will have a chance to equal that number when they play the winner of Napoleon (No. 7) vs. Wauseon (No. 3) for a sectional title on Saturday, October 21. The location of the game will go to the highest seed of the two remaining squads. Maumee 2, Northwood 0 Two nights earlier, the Panthers earned their sixth win of the season at Northwood. After a scoreless opening half, Walborn notched the night’s first goal on an assist from Loboschefski. Keller followed with an insurance goal off a Winkle free kick later in the second frame.

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