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Leopards are beginning to purr

October 01, 2004|by JACK HILL III/Staff Correspondent

WILLIAMSPORT - The Smithsburg Leopards' girls soccer team did not panic when it started the season with an 0-3 record.

Smithsburg, which played in the last three state tournaments, shook off the bad start and started a trend of continuous improvement.

Thursday night, junior forward Shannon Fowkes scored two goals as the Leopards won for the fourth time in their last five tries, beating Williamsport 2-0 in an MVAL Antietam Conference matchup.

"I thought that it was a pretty even match," Fowkes said. "We had a lot of shots. I finally started to finish it. Both of my goals were off of great passes. Tonight was another big win for us. We will just build off of it and keep the momentum going. Our defense definitely stepped it up tonight. They put on the pressure pretty well."

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Fowkes scored her first goal in the ninth minute of the game on an assist from sophomore midfielder Jenna Burns to put the Leopards on top for good. Kicking from the left side, Fowkes found the right corner of the net.

Fowkes got her second goal with only about a minute remaining in the game when she scored from the right side on an assist from sophomore midfielder Katie Seifarth.

"We didn't start the season off that great," Fowkes added. "But I think that we are finally starting to turn it around. I think that we're finally starting to get our new formation together. We are just connecting off of each other really well."

The Leopards (4-4, 2-1) outshot the Wildcats (3-5, 1-2), 32-8.

"I thought that we played pretty well defensively," Smithsburg coach Bill Fowkes said. "We are starting to generate more chances offensively. I think that our defense did a good job of pressuring the ball and limiting the number of chances. We still have areas that we can improve on, but we are heading in the right direction."

Williamsport goalkeeper Catie Vancour collected 26 saves, while Smithsburg goalkeeper Candace Stanford had seven saves in the shutout.

"Smithsburg is a good guage to where your team is," Williamsport coach J.R. Mellott said. "I felt Smithsburg beat us with speed. Our kids really fought hard. I can't say enough about our team's effort. We are really sticking there."

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