Panthers get program’s first-ever soccer win

Published 2:33 am Friday, September 13, 2013

Jim Walker


CHESAPEAKE — A three-goal night led to a first win.

Senior Sawyer Stephens recorded his first career hat trick and Chesapeake rallied twice to beat the Grace Christian Soldiers 4-2 on Tuesday, thus earning the Panthers the first-ever win in the soccer program’s four-year history.

“We are thrilled to get the win. It’s been a long time coming,” said Panthers’ coach Steve McCloud.

“However, we aren’t going to define our season with just one win. We are a developing team that is till making adjustments that will hopefully lead to a successful and competitive program the rest of this season and in the future as well.”

The Soliders took a 1-0 lead 10 minutes into the game before the Panthers tied the game on Stephens’ first goal at the 21-minutge mark.

Grace Christian came right back two minutes later to regain the lead at 2-1.

But with time running out in the first half, junior Josh Spradlin scored on a cross from Logan McCloud to tie the game at the break.

The momentum carried into the start of the second half for the Panthers who became the aggressors. With 22 minutes left in the game, Stephens scored his second goal and put the Panthers ahead for good at 3-2. Stephens scored the goal off a back-of-the-heel assist from his younger brother, sophomore midfielder Wesley Stephens.

Sawyer Stephens completed the hat trick when he scored his third goal on a rebound off the Soldiers’ goalkeeper with 13 minutes left to play.

“I knoew if we just kept trying to push the ball toward the goal, something good would happen. It was a good team effort,” said Sawyer Stephens.

Chesapeake goalie Blake Ridenour had five saves.

The Panthers — who got the first varsity team win on the new stadium turf — hosted Ohio Valley Christian on Thursday.