TAMPA — Pam Smith is apparently good with secrets.
The longtime coach managed to keep a potential personal milestone from her Plant team before the Panthers faced Wharton on Thursday night.
“I didn’t know anything about it …,” midfielder Caroline Bado said.
Bado may not have been privy to Smith’s big night but played an integral part in her coach reaching win No. 200 as the host Panthers (11-1-1) defeated district rival Wharton 1-0.
“A couple of girls knew, but I didn’t make a big deal out of it because it was a tough district game against Wharton,” Smith said. “I didn’t want to add any extra pressure in there.”
Smith, who has coached at Academy of the Holy Names and Tampa Prep, won a state title with the Terrapins in 2008 and is in her second season with the Panthers. The veteran coach is in her 17th season and had all three graduated seniors from last season’s team in attendance.
“Two hundred wins is a great thing,” Smith said. “I’m glad I could celebrate it with these girls here and the alumni girls who came back from last year.”
A well-placed Bado pass in the 31st minute was the play of the night. The UCF commit’s service from just inside the Panthers’ attacking zone down the left flank found Jayne Hagan’s foot. Hagan worked around a defender and chipped a ball over the keeper’s head into the upper right corner of the net.
“It was with my right foot, my off foot,” Hagan said. “I didn’t find out about (Smith’s 200th win) until right after the game, but I’m happy to be a part of it.”
Wharton (10-2-3) pushed the pace in the second half, but couldn’t find the equalizer. Plant keeper Kara Looby produced a pair of diving saves in the half, the second coming on a point-blank shot from Ashni Deschenes in the 78th minute.