Machak steals show for Panthers

Machak steals show for Panthers

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Machak steals show for Panthers

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POMPTON PLAINS

Senior midfielder Kendall Machak stole the show with a hat trick on Thursday afternoon and led the Pequannock girls soccer team over Madison 4-0 in its last game of the regular season.

Senior forward Katie DeLellis got the Panthers (12-8) rolling with the first goal of the afternoon 22 minutes and 15 seconds into the first half. She took a pass from Machak in front of Madison’s goal, found herself wide open and shot the ball into the right corner for a 1-0 lead. Machak notched her first goal 16 minutes later. She took a cross from senior midfielder Megan Kennedy and found the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.

Pequannock’s defense kept Madison (11-6) out of sync in the first half as the Panthers outshot the Dodgers 10-2. In the second half Madison started to find its groove and took more shots on goal, keeping goalie Olivia Schreiber busy.

“We knew they were going to come out hard and try to get the two goals back,” Machak said. “But our defense really stayed compact and just kept the ball to the outside and kept feeding the forwards and midfielders balls so we could make opportunities.”

Machak found another opportunity in the 58th minute when she scored her second goal of the day during a scrum in front of the net. Kennedy had taken a corner kick and the ball was kicked out, but Pequannock brought it back into the Dodgers’ zone and Machak was able to capitalize. She scored her final goal of the day in the final minute of the game on an assist from junior forward Nicole Benway for the 4-0 final.

“I was just keeping my head down on the ball and just focusing on finishing and not just kicking it at the keeper, just looking for the corners,” Machak said of her three goals. “Instead of for power, I was looking more for finesse.”

Thursday’s victory was Pequannock’s second win in five games, with losses coming against Morris Catholic, Boonton and Butler. The Panthers only managed one goal in those three losses, so the barrage of offense against Madison was a confidence booster as the state tournament begins on Monday.

“We wanted to have momentum heading into states after losing a couple of tough ones,” Machak said. “We knew that we needed to turn our ways around before states, so now this is hopefully going to give us momentum heading into states.”

Pequannock earned the No. 6 seed in North 1 Group II and will face No. 11 Lenape Valley in the first round. The Panthers are hoping to make a deep run and leave the rough ending to the regular season behind.

“I think just in general this team is a really big family, more than any other year that I’ve played for this school, this year was really special,” DeLellis said. “This team is really connected on all kinds of levels so when we play, it just makes everything easier knowing where we’re going to be, it’s a family.”

Madison (11-6) 0 0 0
Pequannock (12-8) 2 2 4

GOALS: (P) DeLellis, Machak 3. ASSISTS: (P) Benway, Brown, Kennedy, Machak. SAVES: (P) Schreiber 8; (M) Qualben 11.

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