Call Henry Clay's 1-0 victory over Paul Laurence Dunbar lucky if you like.
That's OK with the Blue Devils, because by prevailing on their rain-swept artificial turf Wednesday night the defending state champs advanced to the boys' State Soccer Tournament semifinals.
Third-ranked Henry Clay (22-2-1) will face either top-ranked St. Xavier or No. 11 Collegiate next Wednesday night at 8.
The Final Four is being played at, of all places, Dunbar.
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The 15th-ranked Bulldogs (15-10-1) had a bitter end to a seven-match winning streak.
"I couldn't be more proud or more pleased of everything our players did tonight," Coach Todd Bretz said. "They played hard. They played smart. They did everything that we asked them to do. It just didn't turn out our way tonight."
Dunbar shots clanked off the crossbar three times.
The lone goal of the night came amidst a chaotic pileup in front of the Bulldogs' goal.
A direct kick into the box led to back-to-back shots from inside 15 yards, each blocked by a Dunbar defender.
Another rebound went to Henry Clay's Thomas Ueland, who sneaked a shot of about 10 yards through and off of a maze of Dunbar legs and into the net with 20:32 left to play.
"It wasn't really a skill thing, but it worked out. ... It was really lucky," said Ueland, a freshman who has 13 goals. "It went through probably three or four people's legs, but it went in. They all count the same."
Henry Clay, which also beat Dunbar 1-0 on Aug. 25, has won 15 consecutive matches and is unbeaten in 17 (16-0-1).
"I always said I'd rather be lucky than good any day," Devils Coach Tim Bernardi said. "But at the same time, I think you create your own luck. Two years in a row now. And I think we've worked hard and got an extremely disciplined team."
Henry Clay forced the action early in the first period, only to see Dunbar take over.
The Bulldogs knocked twice on the pipe, but the answer was no.
Nathan Jones ripped a shot off the crossbar about 4½ minutes into the match.
Ten minutes later, Devils keeper John Paul Jikang stopped Austin Miller's shot but gave up a juicy rebound. Jones was there, but again banged the crossbar.
Henry Clay's best scoring chance came 6:20 in, when 40-goal scorer John Manga weaved a direct kick from 20 yards out through Dunbar's defensive wall, but not past keeper Jon Hurley.
Hurley later made a diving save, knocking Cameron Boone's shot just wide.
"We felt like, the first 15 minutes, we kind of took it to them and then they had the rest of the first half," Bernardi said. "We kind of talked to them at halftime, going back to the drawing board, going back to what we were capable of doing. I felt like, in the second half, were were kind of able to do that.
"They definitely are a well-coached team. Great looks, great opportunities to score some goals. It just didn't fall their way."
Dunbar's Miller put a shot off the crossbar with just over 30 minutes left.
"That's an unlucky night," Bretz said of the three crossbar shots. "But you've got to capitalize. They capitalized and we didn't."
Jikang, who came to Lexington two years ago from Cameroon, said it was difficult to secure the wet ball.
"It's scary," he said. "You just have to stand your ground ... and just do it."
Jikang, notching his eighth shutout, made the last of his seven saves with under 10 seconds left. "I told myself at the end of the game 'nothing is going through me,'" he said.
Henry Clay 1, Paul L. Dunbar 0
Goal — HC: Thomas Ueland.
Goalkeepers — PLD: John Paul Jikang; HC: Jon Hurley.
Records — Dunbar 15-10-1; Henry Clay 22-2-1.