By Thomas Becker
The resilient Panthers scraped out a valuable point in a 1-1 draw with the Acadia Axewomen Saturday afternoon.
It's a result head coach Graeme McDonald will gladly take as his team continues to believe in themselves with every game played.
"I'm absolutely delighted with the result," he said. "The girls took it to them and the most important thing is they worked really hard."
Coming off a win against the Mount Allison Mounties on Thursday night, the Panthers (1-2-1) came into the weekend with confidence and it showed against a tough Acadia squad.
Early on, it was UPEI initiating the attack. Midfielder Andrea Mahoney sprinted up the right side and crossed it to an open Sarah MacVarish, who couldn't get a shot off before the goalie pounced on the ball.
On a 29th minute corner set play, Axewoman Katie Ross connected with an oncoming Candace Conrad who took it with the head, beating keeper Amanda Stanyer for the early 1-0 advantage.
It was a time in the game when the Panthers could have easily given in, especially with an offence that has struggled to score so far this season, but they were determined to make something happen.
Just two minutes later, MacVarish raced past the Acadia (1-1-1) defence and squeezed a shot past goaltender Sarah Charnock, knotting the score at one apiece.
"Sarah's performances in the last two games (two goals) have been outstanding," MacDonald said of his young striker. "She gives you that pace and power and she just has that willingness to get the goal."
Stanyer played big in net for the Panthers, especially in the second half, where she denied two Axewomen scoring threats, including a diving save in extra time to preserve the 1-1 draw.
"After this game, we can walk out with our heads held high," MacVarish said. "They walked all over us last year, so this year we wanted to show them on our home turf that we can play with them."
The Panthers look to continue their solid play when they host the Saint Mary's Huskies at 1 p.m. on Sept. 23.
Top photo credit: Janessa Hogan