Kristina Ralenkotter, who sat out last season due to ACL surgery, scored twice Monday to lead Henry Clay to a 2-1 season-opening victory over visiting South Oldham in girls high school soccer action.
In the first game of the Fayette County Soccer Spectacular, Boyle County blanked Lafayette 6-0.
In the second match, South Oldham grabbed the early lead on Sarah Ashby's goal 10:06 into the match.
Henry Clay forged a 1-1 halftime tie, though, on Ralenkotter's tally with 3:11 left in the period.
Ralenkotter had to be nearly perfect with her shot, which came from near the goal line, about 10 yards to the right of the net. She found her mark just inside the far post.
"I was trying to cross it, but it ended up going in, so it was perfect," said Ralenkotter, a senior. "We've got a great team this year and we all work so hard. I'm just really excited for this season."
Elizabeth Ueland's pass set up Ralenkotter's chance.
"It was a perfect pass from Ueland, a nice through ball, and a nice finish from Kristina," Coach Mebit Aragaw said. "But definitely totally a team effort. Defense played great. Offense, they just tried to pressure the other team, winning the ball back, and that's what we wanted to do."
Ralenkotter also produced the winning goal with about 8 minutes left.
Brett Edwards boomed a long free kick towards the net from close to midfield. Goalkeeper Whitney Love came out and got her hands on the high bounce, but couldn't gain control. Ralenkotter slipped in behind the keeper for an open-net tap-in.
"They're a great team," Ralenkotter said. "But we just showed up to play and worked and did awesome."
"We'll take any win at this point," Aragaw said. "Plus, we played a great team. We knew South Oldham was going to come tough."
In the opener, Boyle County's girls didn't come out with the zest that Coach Brian Deem was expecting. The Rebels did just fine in the long run, though.
Although Boyle County dominated the early chances, the game was 1-0 with less then three minutes left in the half.
Alexis Kerbaugh's goal with 2:28 left made it 2-0 at intermission.
"I can't complain when you score six goals," Deem said. "I think we did come out a little bit lethargic for what I expect (from) our kids. But they fought through and got a couple nice goals in the first half. We had some opportunities and probably could have put a couple more in, but Lafayette's keeper (Kate Heinonen) did an outstanding job of keeping the ball out of the net.
"We made a couple adjustments at half and came out with a little more energy and were able to put some balls in the back of the net."
Elizabeth Lyons and Meghan Paynter led the Rebels with two goals each.
Lyons got things started at 13:49. popping a 10-yard shot just under the crossbar.
"It was a nice ball from Cait Baker," Lyons said. "I just saw the opportunity and needed to finish it."
Paynter got things on the fast track in the second half, scoring twice in less than a minute, both times from about 13 yards out.
"I missed a couple first half," she said, "so I was ready to get some second half."
Baker made it 5-0 in the 49th minute, and Lyons banged in a rebound about three minutes later.
"I decided to take a chance on that," Lyons said. "It was a nice ball and I was just prepared to get it in."
Despite the final score, Heinonen came up with several stellar saves in the Lafayette net.
"We were trying to overplay everything and trying to keep it close, and our goalie had a terrific first half," Generals Coach Bryson Perry said. "She's an all-state-caliber goalie and she's going to carry us a lot of games.
"We're just trying to work in a lot of new defensive players and learn our system with a totally new defense. Once it got three or four to nothing, we put in some players just to work on everything we possibly could. So it got a little bit out of hand after that."
Unofficially, Boyle County outshot Lafayette 25-3, with Heinonen called on to make 13 saves. Keeley Naylor had three saves for Boyle County.
The Soccer Spectacular continues Tuesday at Henry Clay, with Dunbar facing Madison Southern at 6:15 p.m. The second match will pit Tates Creek against Clark County.
Boyle County 6, Lafayette 0
Goals — BC: Elizabeth Lyons 2, Alexis Kerbaugh, Meghan Paynter 2, Caitlin Baker. Goalkeepers — BC: Keeley Naylor, Sarah Burns; L: Kate Heinonen. Records — Boyle Co. 1-0; Lafayette 0-1.
Henry Clay 2, South Oldham 1
Goals — SO: Sarah Ashby; HC: Kristina Ralenkotter 2. Goalkeepers — SO: Whitney Love; HC: Allly Barfield. Records — South Oldham 0-1; Henry Clay 1-0.