On a night when the Lexington Catholic girls' soccer team pulled off a surprise ceremony in recognition of Terry Quigley in his 20th season as coach, the Lady Knights couldn't quite pull off a comeback upset Monday.
Fifth-ranked St. Henry held off a furious rally by No. 13 Catholic, prevailing 2-1.
"We had a really good game tonight; we've been kind of snake-bit this year," Quigley said. "I just think our girls are getting better and I think we're really peaking, even though it's hard to say after two close losses (including 2-1 on penalty kicks Saturday at West Jessamine) that we're peaking.
"I think we are playing better. ... I'm very proud of them, and I think that we're going to do well in the post-season."
Quigley was honored before the match. He was presented with a gift and messages written by past and present players and parents.
"We love Coach Quigley," said Kelly O'Brien, who scored Catholic's goal. "He brings a lot to the team. He keeps us all together and focused."
Part of the surprise for Quigley was his players going "retro" by bringing the uniforms worn by the 2002 state champions out of storage.
Under Quigley, Catholic has made 18 consecutive appearances in region finals.
His teams have the aforementioned state championship, five runner-up finishes (1993, '96, '98, 2001, '05) and two Final Fours (2006, '09).
"I didn't have any idea," Quigley said of the ceremony. "It was really neat to see the former players and parents."
St. Henry led 1-0 at halftime, getting a goal from Maria Syfert with 24:18 left.
The score came with Libby Leedom sending a lead pass from near midfield to Syfert on the left wing. The sharp-angle shot came from about 10 yards out.
Catholic nearly got the equalizer with 3:10 left, but goalie Liz Vagedes made a diving save on Katie Thompson's hard-struck shot.
The Knights pressured throughout the second half.
Catholic (7-8-4) came close to tying several times.
Mary Beth Gorham put a shot just wide with 19½ minutes left.
With just under 13 minutes left, Mary Beth's sister Sarah ripped a shot off the crossbar.
And St. Henry (14-3) countered the pressure by taking a 2-0 lead on Jenna Litzler's goal from about 12 yards out with 9:58 to play.
Leedom, with her right arm in a cast, dished the ball to Litzler on the right wing.
O'Brien notched Catholic's goal at 2:52, firing from about 10 yards out on the left wing.
Catholic continued to press but couldn't get the ball past Vagedes.
"It's pretty disappointing," O'Brien said. "But if we just tighten up on our defense, we can get on track and get going right before the tournament starts."
St. Henry Coach Steve Lorenz lauded Quigley as "one of the most gracious" in the game: "He's good for high school athletics in general.
"Terry's teams are always very good and very competitive. Mary Beth Gorham is a flat-out dangerous player. They played most, if not all, the game with three forwards, and that's very dangerous to deal with. I was pleased with how we defended. It's not always pretty, but if it gets the job done, it gets the job done."
St. Henry 2, Lexington Catholic 1
Goals — SH: Maria Syfert, Jenna Litzler; LC: Kelly O'Brien.
Goalkeepers — SH: Liz Vagedes; LC: Kate Fitzgerald.
Records — St. Henry 14-3; Lexington Catholic 7-8-4.