NICHOLASVILLE — There were doubts that Ashley Cobane would ever be on the soccer field this season.
It was late August and the West Jessamine senior was in the hospital with serious abdominal pain.
"We were so afraid she wasn't coming back," fellow senior Sydney Sisler said. "She's one of my best friends and I was scared to death for her."
Cobane was in the hospital for more than a week. She had two surgeries on her kidneys.
She missed the No. 3 Colts' first seven games.
But Cobane wanted to get back on the field for nights like Wednesday when she scored the game-winning goal in the 14th Region championship to give host West Jessamine a 1-0 win over fourth-ranked Lexington Catholic.
"It felt good," Cobane said of her crazy-angled shot from the right side that landed in the far left corner of the goal.
The angle was so odd, Sisler, who slid Cobane the ball, wasn't even sure it made it into the goal.
"I was surprised it went in," she said of the goal with 13 minutes left in the game. "It all happened so fast."
But it was almost storybook in how it happened and in who made it happen.
"It was awesome," Sisler said. "I believe in her so much. We all do."
The Colts advance to Monday's sub-sectionals where they will face No. 14 Woodford County, a 1-0 double overtime winner over Henry Clay.
Cobane's goal capped an amazing game for the Colts, who outshot the Knights 12-1. Catholic's only shot on goal came with three minutes remaining in the first half.
"Our back four are just so solid," said Coach Kevin Wright, whose Colts earned their 13th shutout of the season. "They were stout."
Catholic Coach Terry Quigley seconded that.
"They were the superior team tonight," he said. "I really thought our defense would hold and we had that one breakdown and that was the difference."
It was the second straight year the Knights have fallen to West in the region finals. Last season, the Colts lost in the next game to Woodford.
Wright knew his team was good, but he didn't expect such a sound performance against a team like Catholic.
"We were solid all night at every spot," he said. "We moved the ball. We had multiple opportunities."
Cobane knew the Colts could play that way.
"We had to get it out of our head that it's Catholic," she said. "We knew they were gunning for us because we took regionals last year, but we knew if we stayed composed that they couldn't play with us."
Not many teams have been able to play with West this year. The Colts have won four in a row and have only lost one game to top-ranked, defending state champion Sacred Heart back on Aug. 27.
Quigley was proud of Catholic's effort even in the loss.
"I thought Courtney and our other defenders had a great game and we didn't quit," he said. "We played all the way until the end, that's what a coach wants.
"The only games we lost this year were to the No. 1 team, the No. 2 team and the No. 3 team, so we had a good season in that respect."
West Jessamine 1, Lexington Catholic 0
Goal—Ashley Cobane. Goalkeepers—LC: Courtney Thomerson; WJ: Michelle Sutherland.
Records—Lexington Catholic 14-5-2, West Jessamine 17-1-3.