Malvern Lady Leopards, Leopards soccer teams host Episcopal in season-opener

(4) Emma Green with teammate  (24)Aysha Watkins for Malvern battling tough against a few Episcopal Lady Wildcats during varsity girls soccer action on Tuesday February 26, 2019 at Claude Mann Stadium. Photo by Gerren SmithLEOPARDS VS. EPISCOPAL SOCCER PIC.2 (20) Jose Valdivia for Malvern taking on the challenge against Episcopal during varsity boys soccer action on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 at Claude Mann Stadium. Photo by Gerren Smith
By: 
Gerren Smith
Staff Writer

The Malvern Leopards and Lady Leopards soccer teams debuted the 2019 season for the hometown fans Tuesday, February 26, 2019 hosting Episcopal for varsity girls and boys match-ups at Claude Mann Stadium on David Alpe Field.

In two intense battles, the Leopards and Lady Leopards both fell short of victories to the visiting Episcopal Wildcats and Lady Wildcats to spoil Malvern's night in their season-opening games for varsity girls and boys soccer 2019.

Malvern soccer teams are schedule to return home next week on Monday March 4, 2019 for varsity girls and boys competition hosting Arkadelphia at Claude Mann Stadium.

Malvern Lady Leopards 1, Episcopal 5
In varsity girls soccer action, the Malvern Lady Leopards provided a productive defensive effort in first half play against the Lady Wildcats. The game was held scoreless for the first 17 minutes of play with both teams keeping their defensive strategies in effect. But down to the 23:56 mark, the Lady Wildcats scored the game's first goal to give the visiting team a 1-0 lead. For the remaining time of play in the first half, Malvern didn't allow another score, but trailed Episcopal at halftime, 1-0. In the second half, The Lady Leopards' defense remained effective with four key saves from goalie Piper Baker down to the 29:40 mark. Episcopal accounted their second goal of the game on a penalty kick down to the 27:03 mark to lead Malvern 2-0.

Then, the Lady Wildcats came back with their third goal scored at the 25:28 mark to maintain a 3-0 lead advantage over Malvern. Episcopal made attempts to score, but Malvern's goalie Baker had saves at the 19:20 and 14:45 marks that kept the Lady Leopards within striking distance coming up on 14 minutes remaining to compete in the game. The Lady Wildcats added their fourth goal of the game at the 13:08 mark to lead Malvern 4-0. In the final seven minutes of play, the Lady Leopards sparked with Faith Harmon scoring the lone goal for Malvern down to the 6:30 mark. Malvern now had a three goal deficit to Episcopal 4-1. In the closing seconds under a minute, the Lady Wildcats scored their final goal with 38 seconds left to play to give them their 5-1 victory over Malvern.

Malvern Leopards 2, Episcopal 4
In the nightcap for varsity boys soccer action, the Malvern Leopards built early momentum in first half play and sparked down to the 25:38 mark to lead Episcopal 1-0 with Michael Cervantes scoring the game's first goal. The Wildcats capitalized later and tied the game at 1-1 at the 21:53 mark. Before the halftime, Episcopal scored their second goal on a penalty kick at the 15:11 mark, which gave the visiting Wildcats the lead 2-1 over Malvern to conclude first half competition. The Leopards had a one goal deficit to Episcopal at halftime, but came out strong in the second half. Leopards' Cervantes scored his second goal of the contest at the 30:48 mark that tied the game at 2-2. With some momentum favoring into the Leopards level of play, the Wildcats answered back to score on another penalty kick down at the 22:18 mark to give Episcopal the lead, 3-2. The Leopards aimed to score in the final 20 minutes of action, but the Wildcats sparked down to the 3:12 mark to score their fourth goal to lead Malvern 4-2. The Leopards would fall short to score in the final three minutes of play and Episcopal secured the two-goal victory in Malvern's season-opener at Claude Mann Stadium.

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