For nearly 29 minutes Monday night, a much-improved Lafayette soccer team had Lexington Catholic's girls wondering what was going on.
Then, Monica Rios struck for two goals in less than seven minutes, sending the visiting Lady Knights on to a 3-0 victory.
"Finally," Rios said. "I was looking for the goal."
Catholic (2-2) outshot the Generals, unofficially by a 27-4 count. But Lafayette (1-2-1) kept things close in a district match.
"They've improved enormously," Knights Coach Terry Quigley said of Lafayette. "Although we may have outshot them, they had us on our heels a bunch of times, especially in the first half. ... Lafayette never quit, and it was a game to the end."
Rios' strikes gave Catholic a 2-0 lead at intermission.
Her first goal came on a volley from 22 yards straight out, with 11½ minutes left.
The play was set up off a throw-in, Alana Hughes then heading the ball to Rios.
The second goal, a set play off a free kick, came a few steps to the right of where her first tally was launched. Sarah Gorham got the assist.
"That was all Sarah," Rios said. "She quick-started. It was a free kick, and she had the idea and played me, so it was all her."
Catholic's final goal, with about 14 minutes left, came when Hughes blasted a shot off of a defender and into the net.
"We did pretty good defensively today," Generals Coach Bryson Perry said. "We didn't play as well as we did last week (in the Fayette County Soccer Spectacular), but the first goal was a bit of skill and a bit of unlucky for us. Then we were chasing the game the rest of the way."
Kate Heinonen made 13 saves in the Lafayette net, while Catholic counterpart Sarah Youkilis stopped three shots.
Both teams are hoping a tough early season schedule will prepare them well for what is to come.
"We scheduled a hard opponent after the (tourney) to test our mettle, and we're trying to up our level every year," Perry said. "... I hope we keep improving because we want to get where Tates Creek and Lexington Catholic are."
Catholic evened its record after opening-week losses to perennial powers Sacred Heart and Notre Dame, plus a win over Assumption.
"We had a tough week last week, and I always tell them we want to start with as tough a teams as we can," Quigley said. "We played Sacred Heart, Assumption and Notre Dame, and I think that made us stronger for tonight."
Lexington Catholic 3, Lafayette 0
Goals—LC: Monica Rios 2, Alana Hughes.
Goalkeepers—LC: Sarah Youkilis. L: Kate Heinonen and Greer Brown.
Records: Lex. Catholic 2-2, Lafayette 1-2-1.
Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @markmaloneyhl. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com.