With an early goal by Will Shapiro and an airtight defensive effort, Henry Clay knocked off Franklin County 2-0 in the first round of the 11th Region boys’ soccer tournament at Bryan Station on Monday.
The 20th-ranked Blue Devils struck three minutes into the game when Trustun Ashburn took control of a Franklin County goal kick, dribbled upfield and sent a long pass to Will Shapiro as the forward cut toward the box from the left side. Shapiro fired a shot into the upper left corner of the net for a 1-0 Henry Clay lead.
“That was definitely a team play, it wasn’t all on me,” Shapiro said. “I just was on the finishing end of it. The way we practice, we look to play it out wide and then crash into the box and as the ball came across I crashed and Trustun had a great pass.”
Franklin County refused to fold after the early setback. The Flyers’ defense frustrated the Blue Devils for the rest of the half, allowing just three more shots before intermission. A good look by Ashburn with 29 minutes left went wide left. Flyers goalie Mason Parritt corralled a shot by Henry Clay’s Julio Quevedo from about 20 yards and later leaped up to poke a header by Ashburn over the crossbar.
“Hats off to Franklin County, they played unbelievably disciplined defense,” Henry Clay Coach Jason Behler said. “We were a little fortuitous on that first goal and kind of caught them off guard, but the rest of the first half they were difficult to break down.”
Nine minutes into the second half the Blue Devils beat the Flyers’ defense again when a pass into the box deflected off a defender and midfielder Alec DuPont sent the rebound into the opposite corner of the goal for a 2-0 lead.
That was more than enough to send Henry Clay into Thursday’s semifinals. The Blue Devils allowed just two shots on goal, both long attempts that were easily scooped up by goalie Donovan Gregory.
Behler said a midseason overhaul of the defensive gameplan is bearing fruit for the Blue Devils.
“About halfway through the season I switched some things around on our defense, and I can’t say enough about Colby Rose and Ethan MacGillivray. The two of them have just brought a calming sense to that backline.”
Ashburn said Monday’s win is just what the Blue Devils needed as they look to repeat as 11th Region champs.
“This is a big confidence booster,” he said. “We came out and played well and did what we needed to do. It’s huge motivation.
HENRY CLAY 2,
FRANKLIN CO. 0
G—HC: Shapiro, DuPont.
GK—HC: Gregory. FC: Parritt.
Records: Henry Clay 11-9-1, Franklin Co. 13-6-3
Boys’ 11th Region Tournament quarterfinals at Bryan Station
6:15 p.m.: Woodford Co. (12-6-4) vs. Scott Co. (9-7-1)
8:15 p.m.: Madison Central (15-4-3) vs. Lafayette (16-5-1)