NICHOLASVILLE — For Wednesday anyway, the Tates Creek girls' soccer Commodores were Destinie's Darlings.
Destinie Graves scored with 6:29 left to not only rally her team to a 1-1 draw at West Jessamine, but to complete an undefeated regular season. "This is my first year ever to go an undefeated season and it's special, and this team's special," Graves said.
The Commodores, No. 2 in the state rankings, will go into district play next week with a 15-0-4 record.
No. 14 West Jessamine, moved from the 11th Region to the 12th this year, is 10-4-7. The Lady Colts also tied their previous match — 2-2 at No. 3 Assumption.
"These games just help you for post-season, just gives you that experience," Coach Kevin Wright said of West Jessamine's tough schedule.
Tates Creek dominated the chances in a scoreless first half, but the Lady Colts got the first goal.
"You talk about quality up and down, with the job Bo (Lankster, Creek's coach) does. We did all we could do," Wright said. "First half, we were on our heels, but we made a few adjustments at halftime. We just had to mix it up a little bit."
Savannah Layne scored her team-leading 10th goal of the season with 30:22 left.
Racing Creek goalkeeper Arly Lankster for a free ball near the corner of the penalty box, Layne won by a half-step and pushed the ball ahead for a wide-angle chance.
"I just got to the ball and I saw that the goal was wide open, so I was like 'why not?'," said Layne, a freshman. "I was just hoping and praying it didn't hit the post."
With the score still 1-0 and less than 15 minutes left, Graves went to the bench for about six minutes.
Soon after re-entering, she scored her 26th goal of the year.
"I think I needed a break. I was chasing a lot because they started to hold the ball longer and make us chase it," Graves said. "But you've gotta come back in and you've gotta do what you you've gotta do."
The play developed on a throw-in from Mallory Eubanks to Ashley Whaley, who dribbled under pressure to the edge of the goal line. Whaley's centering pass slipped through a tangle of feet to Graves, who was on the doorstep for the score.
"More than anything else, it was just a great way to end our season, to see if we could face some adversity and still have a good result," Bo Lankster said. "West Jessamine was up to the challenge tonight. They're going to make a lot of noise in the post-season, and they've had a couple good results lately. It was a quality match. Two good teams."
Unofficially, Creek had a 17-2 advantage in shots. But Rebekah Hulsing made 10 saves in the Colts' net and Jessica Watson headed West's last line of field defenders.
Watson, one of only five senior starters on the team, thinks West gained some confidence for the post-season.
"We've had a few losses that kind of upset us, but it definitely shapes the way for the rest of the season," she said. "We don't want to lose. We want to keep going. We want to keep pushing. And knowing that we can play with these teams just makes everything so much more better."
Tates Creek 1, West Jessamine 1
Goals — TC: Destinie Graves; WJ: Savannah Layne. Goalkeepers — TC: Arly Lankster; WJ: Rebekah Hulsing. Records — TC: 15-0-4; WJ: 10-4-7.
Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com