Rather than a joyful victor, Monday's match between two of the top three ranked girls' soccer teams in Kentucky produced mutual admiration.
Alexandra Vasile's goal with 7:26 left rallied No. 2 Scott County to a 2-2 draw at No. 3 Tates Creek.
"I think that they're probably the best team that we've played so far," said Bo Lankster, coach of the Creekers (8-2-2). "They're super athletic and they've got talent all over the place. And their style of play just gave us a lot of trouble tonight."
Keyli Borman also scored for the Cardinals (12-0-1).
Mallory Eubanks and Ashley Whaley tallied for the Commodores.
"Tates Creek, they're very respected by our program," Cards Coach Andrea "Bug" Brown said. "They were state champs last year for a reason.
"I thought we were getting the jitters out the first half. Second half, I thought we played like we were capable of playing. We've just got to make sure we finish opportunities. Our defense did a tremendous job with Eubanks."
Eubanks opened the scoring at 13:05, powering a shot from near the edge of the goal box. Whaley drew an assist.
Although the Commodores continued to dominate the scoring chances, Scott County forged a 1-1 halftime tie.
The goal came on a breakaway by Borman, who buried a shot inside the right post at 34:23.
"Brittany (Cline) got the ball in the middle, and I know she's good at looking up and making balls through," Borman said. "So I started making the run and she played me a ball. I just kind of went in and I was open for the shot there."
The Commodores took a 2-1 lead on Whaley's goal, assisted by Jordan Chlebowy, with 11:45 remaining.
"I just tried to kick it and run so the keeper couldn't get it," said Whaley, who weaved past the keeper to find an open net. "It was really just my team. I happened to be there for the pass before they played it, so I was really lucky."
A little more than four minutes later, Vasile tied it.
An initial shot by Cline hit off the post, but Vasile cleaned up the rebound.
Both teams had other shots hit the woodwork, too.
"We had our chances and we just didn't do what we've done all season, which is finish those," Lankster said. "Their goalie (Michelle Washburn) had a lot to do with that, and the fact that some of our shots just weren't on frame. Give them credit because, defensively, they just kept pressuring us, kept pressuring us."
Vasile had a shot ricochet off a post and straight across the goal mouth with about 9:45 left.
Eubanks ripped one off the crossbar midway through the second half.
"Not so good, honestly," Whaley said when asked how she felt about a tie. "Their team was really ubiquitously physical, and I don't think we've ever played a team like that before so it was something new to us. They're really good."
Scott's Borman said she was "feeling good about it. I'm pretty happy about this. But I'm just ready to see them at region, hopefully."
TAtes Creek 2, Scott County 2
Goals—SC: Keyli Borman, Alexandra Vasile; TC: Mallory Eubanks, Ashley Whaley.
Goalkeepers—SC: Michelle Washburn; TC: Hannah Kardos.
Records: Scott Co. 12-0-1; Tates Creek 8-2-2.
Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @markmaloneyhl. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com.