June 16, 2024

Panthers score first win of the season against Atlantic

Creston senior Dillon Starlin launches a ball into the goal in the first half. He scored three on the night.

The Panthers were on a roll Thursday as they hosted the Atlantic Trojans in a 7-2 Hawkeye 10 soccer victory.

“We had tough results to start the season,” Creston Coach Chad Malmanger said. “Tonight could have been a good turning point for us.”

Creston wasted no time, senior Dillon Starlin taking two shots on goal in the first three minutes.

The conditions were difficult, with big wind gusts stopping the ball mid-air as it went toward the north goal.

“That actually played right into it,” Malmanger said. “I was hoping the wind would die down enough in the second half. You just can’t prepare for wind like that.”

Though the first goal wasn’t until more than 30 minutes into the game, many Panthers were taking their shot at the net.

Creston freshman Joaquin Flores winds up to launch a shot at the net - his second of three goals on the night.

Freshman Joaquin Flores kicked a line drive to the center of the net, but goalie Ryan Bower was able to make the save.

Senior Brennan Hayes took a shot at an open goal as Bower ran up in an attempt to stop the ball, but the kick went just wide left.

He tried again with 10 minutes left in the first half, but the shot went high.

The Panthers took a total of 30 shots on goal, finding the net in seven.

Starlin made the first goal with seven minutes left in the half and found another just 90 seconds later. He ended up with a hat trick on the night.

The final goal of the first half came from Flores with 2:30 remaining.

Malmanger said the team is looking for goals anyway they can get them. “I just want to see the back of the net,” he said. “We don’t feed one player. We don’t have one playerwe’re looking to run.”

Creston goalie CT Stalker didn’t have nearly as many shots to contend with as Bower, but let up only two goals on the evening, both to Taye Jordan.

Hayes finally connected with the back of the net 10 minutes into the second half.

Creston senior Brennan Hayes uses a knee to stop the ball Thursday at home in a 7-2 win against Atlantic. Hayes scored a goal in the second half.

Flores scored two more goals in the end of the second half to secure a hat trick on the night.

“It’s nice. We tried a lot of different things over the last couple games to see what clicks,” Malmanger said. “Tonight we had a few more in the back of the net. We tried a new formation tonight, we’ll stick with that against some other teams to see how it shakes out.”

The team is down approximately six starters from a season ago and is relying on a mix of experienced seniors and talented underclassmen.

“I think we needed this one,” Malmanger said. “We needed a game to put some stuff together. We’ve still got plenty to work on.”

The Panthers traveled to Harlan Friday where the Cyclones were able to pull of a 4-0 victory.

Creston returns to action Thursday at home against Kuemper Catholic.

Cheyenne Roche


Originally from Wisconsin, Cheyenne has a journalism and political science degree from UW-Eau Claire and a passion for reading and learning. She lives in Creston with her husband and their two little dogs.