Hailey Mair scored the winning goal early in the second half, and Kennedy Tranter added a last-second score Saturday to lift No. 5 Lexington Catholic to a 2-0 victory over No. 2 Sacred Heart in the finals of the Lady Knights Challenge Cup.
"We played very well defensively tonight," winning coach Terry Quigley said. "Because we had to play defensively. Sacred Heart has shown that they're one of the best teams in the state if not the best team. We prepared for them by talking about playing team defense and the girls responded very well.
"I'm really happy with my team's play right now. But the thing is, this doesn't matter. I wish it mattered, but it doesn't."
Ah, but it sure mattered for one night anyhow.
The win capped Catholic's improbable run to its own tournament title. In order, the Lady Knights knocked off Louisville powers Manual, Assumption and Sacred Heart.
Sacred Heart dominated possession time in a scoreless first half but couldn't crack Catholic's back wall for more than two shots.
The Valkyries' closest scoring chance came when Cassie Amshoff got a header off a corner kick, putting the ball just over the crossbar.
Catholic's lone shot on net was a Tranter blast just over 10 minutes in, saved by Sarah Stodghill.
"We had to stop higher up than we're used to, so that was a change that we had to make," sweeper Rachel Yeager said. "But other than that we just locked them down and we didn't let them play outside.
"They were getting very frustrated but we held them."
Less then three minutes into the second half, Mair found the range from the left wing, putting a high shot just inside the far post.
"We like to fight as a team together," said Mair, named the tourney's Most Outstanding Player. "We really got them locked in the corner and then we just took a quick shot."
Tranter's goal came with three-tenths of a second showing on the clock.
Olivia Meck got the shutout in goal, making three saves and coming out several times to snuff scoring chances before a shot could be taken.
"It's a great experience," Mair said. "It really means that we're improving."
No. 1 Notre Dame 2, No. 4 Assumption 0: In the third-place match, Mandy Arnzen's goal with less than 10 minutes left in the first half proved decisive. Taylor Watts added a second-half tally.
No. 6 Manual 1, No. 13 Tates Creek 0: After going scoreless through regulation, the Lady Crimsons took fifth place by outscoring the Commodores 4-3 in a shootout.
No. 22 Highlands 3, No. 23 Elizabethtown 0: Olivia McQuery and Shannon Eaton combined on a shutout as the Bluebirds earned seventh place.
Lexington Catholic 2, Sacred Heart 0
Goals—LC: Hailey Mair, Kennedy Tranter. Goalkeepers—SH: Sarah Stodghill; LC: Olivia Meck.
Records: Sacred Heart 11-2; Lexington Catholic 8-3.
Notre Dame 2, Assumption 0
Goals—ND: Mandy Arnzen, Taylor Watts. Goalkeepers—ND: Courtney Hansel; A: Ellie Coke.
Records: Notre Dame 8-3-1; Assumption 5-4-2.
Manual 1, Tates Creek 0
Penalty kick goals—TC: Kylie Russ, Jordan Chlebowy, Bailey Lankster; M: Isabella Zamborini, Hannah Martin, Ismene Vedder, Emina Ekic. Goalkeepers—TC: Katherine Hein and Bailey McNees; M: Delayna Holman and Molly Schroering.
Records: Tates Creek 4-7-2; Manual 10-3.
Highlands 3, Elizabethtown 0
Goals—H: Hannah Culyer, Lydia Graves, Claudia Hils. Goalkeepers—H: Olivia McQuery and Shannon Eaton; E: Sydney Pinkham.
Records: Highlands 4-7; Elizabethtown 7-6.
All-tournament team—Rebecca Black, Elizabethtown; Kiersten Clukey, Highlands; Emily Hause, Manual; Bailey Lankster, Tates Creek; Courtney Hansel and Mandy Arnzen, Notre Dame; Polly Marino and Ellie Coke, Assumption; Abigail Zoeller, Annie Heironimus and Cassie Amshoff, Sacred Heart; Rachel Yeager, Bailey Browning, Kennedy Tranter and Olivia Meck, Lexington Catholic.
Most Outstanding Player—Hailey Mair, Lexington Catholic.