NICHOLASVILLE — Conditions were miserable. A mid-40s chill and a wet field, with parts a muddy mess.
The result, though, was marvelous for Lexington Catholic's girls.
Kelly O'Brien's goal with 24:56 left lifted the Lady Knights to a 1-0 victory over West Jessamine in the 27th District finals at the old East Jessamine Middle School.
"We've been working as a team a lot, and finally, we got the pass out and I just settled (the ball) down and — I don't know — just took a shot," said O'Brien, who popped a bender from just outside the left corner of the penalty box. "It was nice, but I wouldn't have had it if Amy (Ghibaudy) didn't pass it to me."
Both teams advance to the 14th Region tournament at Madison Central. The tentative schedule calls for matches Tuesday and Thursday.
If Catholic and West advance to the region finals, that would be their third meeting of the season. Catholic topped West in a regular-season match, 3-1, on Oct. 3.
The fifth-ranked Lady Knights (15-4-1) extended their winning streak to eight matches. The have the region's best defense with 14 goals allowed and 10 shutout wins.
"Ciara Thomas' birthday is today," Terry Quigley, coach of the Knights, said of his senior goalkeeper. "She gave us all a birthday present with her play."
Thomas came up with eight saves and came out to make a sliding block on a first-half breakaway chance.
"The ball actually got a little past her," Quigley said, "and she hooked it with her foot, which saved a sure goal."
No. 6 West (13-4-3) has won 11 of its last 13 matches, both losses coming against Catholic. The Lady Colts beat Catholic in district and regional play last year.
"We wanted to win ... but I wasn't displeased with us at all," said Kevin Wright, coach of the Colts. "We played hard and played composed."
West also played without ace playmaker Teryn Wright, who injured a hamstring 11 days earlier. She is expected to be ready for regional play.
Arin Gilliland, who finished with five shots, helped West dominate a scoreless first half. Thomas was up to every test, though.
"The first half, we played the way I want to play," Kevin Wright said. "It's just we didn't capitalize."
Catholic, which put all four of its first-half shots high or wide, turned things around in the second half.
Chelsea Smith nearly broke the scoreless tie with 311/2 minutes left, putting a shot off the crossbar.
O'Brien did break the tie. Goalie Allison Brown tried to punch the ball over the net, but didn't get enough on it to prevent a goal.
"It was a great high school game," Quigley said. "It was up and down in both halves.
"This game, it's fun to win but ... if we see them again, that will be the one that counts."
Lexington Catholic 1, West Jessamine 0
Goal — LC: O'Brien. Goalkeepers — LC: Thomas; WJ: Brown, Hulsing.
Records: LC: 15-4-1; WJ: 13-4-3.