A goal in the waning seconds of the first half made the difference for Paul Laurence Dunbar in its 1-0 victory over Lexington Catholic in the boys’ 43rd District semifinals Tuesday night at Tates Creek.
Off a Dunbar corner kick, Harrison Grabmeyer secured his own deflection and quickly sailed a goal into the bottom-left part of the net to put the Bulldogs ahead 1-0 with 10 seconds remaining in the first half. Dunbar held that lead for the next 40 minutes and 10 seconds to secure a date with Lafayette in the 43rd District finals on Thursday.
Its eighth straight district finals appearance also means the Bulldogs will make their eighth straight trip to a regional tournament, the longest active streak by a Lexington boys’ soccer team. Henry Clay extended its streak, the second-longest, to seven after defeating Sayre 5-0 on Monday in the 42nd District semifinals.
Dunbar doesn’t take the district semifinals lightly despite advancing from them for the better part of a decade.
“In our district you can’t take any win for granted,” Dunbar Coach Todd Bretz said. “Any time you can get to the finals in our district it’s an accomplishment.”
In their first meeting this season, Lafayette defeated Dunbar 1-0 on the road. Bretz said the Generals, who defeated Lexington Christian 2-0 in Tuesday’s first semifinal, have “no weaknesses” this season.
Lafayette, ranked No. 6 in the latest Maher Rankings, and Dunbar, ranked seventh, were the only 11th Region teams ranked in the top 15 entering the week.
“It’s gonna take a supreme effort just to stay competitive with them,” Bretz said. “We’re gonna go out there and do our best but right now they’re really, really sharp.”
Paul Laurence Dunbar 1, Lexington Catholic 0
G—PD: Grabmeyer (40’).
GK—PD: LC: Roberts.
Records: Paul Laurence Dunbar 12-4-2, Lexington Catholic 10-8-3.
43rd District boys’ finals
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Tates Creek High School