A third straight appearance in the finals of the KHSAA Girls’ Soccer State Tournament was not to be for Lexington Catholic.
The Knights fell, 4-1, to Notre Dame in a semi-state game Tuesday night at home. The Pandas, now winners of seven straight games, were ranked No. 2 behind Sacred Heart in the most recent statewide Maher Rankings. Lexington Catholic was ranked fourth.
Notre Dame got on the board first with a goal in the box by Audrey Muck in the 13th minute. Catholic answered in the 39th minute after a through ball found senior Kennedy Tranter at the 25-yard line, from which she gathered and got into the box for an equalizer.
“Lexington Catholic’s a great team,” Pandas Coach David Gronotte said. “They have so many weapons on their team and defensively they’re solid. When it was 1-1 at half, we looked a little panicked. We know Kennedy’s a threat anytime she touches the ball.”
Muck took a pass from the 35-yard line and launched a ball from just outside the 15-yard line that sailed into the high right corner of the goal to put the Pandas back in front in the 54th minute. Julia Day and Maya Decker added two more goals for Notre Dame in the 69th and 72nd minutes.
“We got beat, and by a good team, so it was fine,” Knights Coach Terry Quigley said. “It was one of those games where we would have to make 30 or 40 percent of our chances, and we didn’t. And when we got down 2-1 we had to go with three up top and only three in the back and we were exposed those last two goals. They were great goals.”
It was an earlier exit from the state tournament than the Knights have become accustomed in recent years. LexCath lost in the state finals each of the last two seasons and had its sights set on a third straight appearance after an epic rally versus Tates Creek in the 11th Region championship game; the Knights trailed 2-0 with 14 minutes left in that contest before forcing overtime and taking a 3-2 win on Saturday.
Catholic was unable to muster such a rally a second time in a row.
“Sometimes it just doesn’t roll your way. That’s one of the things you’ve gotta learn about life. You try as hard as you can and sometimes you don’t get what you want, but then you’ve gotta pick yourself up and go,” Quigley said. “This is a less painful thing than some of the lessons they’ll learn later in life.”
Notre Dame (20-5-2) will play Corbin (10-11-2) in the quarterfinals on Saturday. The Redhounds defeated Prestonsburg, 2-1, on the road Tuesday night.