It took 66 minutes and 17 shots, but considering a regional tournament berth was at stake and how long it’d been since they earned one, Lafayette didn’t mind waiting just a bit longer.
The Generals came away with a 2-0 victory over Lexington Christian in the 43rd District semifinals at Tates Creek on Tuesday. It gave Lafayette its first regional tournament berth in five years, its last trip coming in 2011 when it and several other Lexington schools were part of the 14th Region.
Riley Bishop put in a goal off a Sydney Lee header to put the Generals on top 1-0 in the 66th minute. That was Lafayette’s 17th shot in a game where it created many opportunities but had a hard time capitalizing until the final moments. Trevor Matthews got free in the box for a chip shot in the 70th minute to create the final difference.
LCA defeated Tates Creek 2-1 on Monday night to earn a semifinals date with the top-seeded Generals.
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“You’ve gotta earn everything in this district,” Lafayette Coach Chris Grimm said. “Give credit to LCA, they made us really earn it. They don’t play a lot of players, and they had a tough game last night and fought us really hard tonight.”
Lafayette’s last 11th Region tournament appearance? 2003.
“It’s a huge weight off the guys’ shoulders, I know that,” Grimm said. “They’re not used to being in that position. The last month of the season or so, I think the target’s gotten bigger and bigger on their back. They’re not really used to that so much, but I think the success we had during the regular season set us up for where we are in the postseason.”
Lexington Christian held Lafayette scoreless in the first 40 minutes despite the Generals accruing a 10-1 shot advantage. The Eagles’ lone attempt came on a blast from about 25 yards out as time wound down in the opening half. The Generals unofficially outshot LCA 21-3, helping extend their win streak over the Eagles to five games. LCA’s last win in the series came in the first round of the 2013 43rd District tournament.
A weight’s been lifted, but Lafayette isn’t done. The Generals have never won a 43rd District title and didn’t win one during eight years (2004-2011) in the 27th District. It’ll meet the winner between Paul Laurence Dunbar and Lexington Catholic, two teams against which it didn’t allow a goal this year, in Thursday’s finals.
“We haven’t won a district championship in a long time, so that’s gonna be important for us,” Grimm said. “So we’re gonna go for it on Thursday.”
Lafayette 2, Lexington Christian 0
G—L: Bishop (66’), Matthews (70’).
GK—L: Medina. LC: Graybeal.
Records: Lafayette 16-4-1, Lexington Christian 11-9-1.
43rd District boys’ finals
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Tates Creek High School