Indian Springs boys, girls down Pelham on road as boys improve to 2-0 in area

Published 2:55 pm Wednesday, March 13, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

PELHAM – In a clash of local rivals, Indian Springs came out on top over the Pelham Panthers to solidify their place in the Class 6A, Area 8 table.

The Springs varsity boys defeated Pelham 9-8 in a shootout after finishing overtime in a 2-2 tie while the varsity girls earned a bounce-back 4-2 win over the Panthers on Tuesday, March 12 at Pelham High School.

Indian Springs entered the varsity boys match on a tear thanks to a six-match unbeaten run with five wins and a draw during that span.

However, it was their most recent outing that meant the most in the big picture as Springs won its area play opener against Helena 1-0 to head to the top of the table.

That win also improved their record to 6-3-1 entering the match, but they were about to face one of their biggest tests to date.

That test came in the form of the No. 2 Pelham Panthers, which had a six-match unbeaten run of their own thanks to five wins and a draw.

Pelham also entered as winners of its last two matches: a 1-0 win over the defending Class 6A state champion Homewood and a 4-0 victory over Class 7A Tuscaloosa County on Senior Night.

While the Panthers were unable to play their area opener against Briarwood on Friday, March 8 due to storms, they hoped to kick off area play with a win in their match with Indian Springs.

The pair of top-10 sides produced a tightly fought battle throughout the 80 minutes. While Springs scored the opening goal, Pelham surged back and forced the match into overtime.

In the end, even the extra 10 minutes couldn’t put either Pelham or Indian Springs over the top. The 2-2 tie after overtime sent the two local foes to a shootout to decide the match.

The sides went toe-to-toe throughout the shootout, going goal-for-goal against each other and taking the shootout into the sudden death rounds.

In the ninth round of the shootout, Springs converted their try from the spot but the Panthers could not, giving the visitors a 9-8 win in the shootout to take the match.

The victory improves Indian Springs’ area record to 2-0 and keeps them atop the area with a game in hand over 1-0 Briarwood.

As for the varsity girls, Springs entered the matchup 8-2 as the No. 5 team in Class 6A. They won seven of their eight matches entering their second game of area play.

However, that lone loss came in their most recent outing on the road against Helena. Indian Springs lost 4-2 to the Huskies on Thursday, March 7, which was their first loss to their county foe in program history in a series spanning nine years.

On the other side, Pelham had a three-match win streak entering its first area game against Springs. The Panthers defeated Tuscaloosa County 5-0 in their last outing to pick up a win over a Class 7A opponent.

Indian Springs turned around the loss to Helena to storm ahead to a big lead. It scored three goals in the first half against Pelham to lead by multiple goals.

While the Panthers scored once in the first half, Springs entered halftime with a 3-1 lead.

That two-goal lead showed in the final score line as both Pelham and Indian Springs scored a goal each in the second half.

That gave Springs the 4-2 win to get back to .500 in area play.

The Indian Springs varsity boys will move on to play in the Smoky Mountain Cup from March 14-16, taking on teams from Tennessee and South Carolina over the weekend. Pelham’s varsity boys will also compete in the tournament against a trio of Tennessee teams.

As for the varsity girls, Springs will face their third straight county opponent as they travel down the road to the reigning Class 1A-3A state champions Westminster OM on Friday, March 15 at 5 p.m.

Pelham’s varsity girls team will close the week with a pair of road games at McAdory on Thursday, March 14 and Briarwood on Friday, March 15, the latter being a rescheduled area match from Friday, March 8.