The last time Lexington Catholic played Paul Dunbar, the Knights won easily by three goals. But Tuesday night, fourth-ranked Catholic was facing a totally different Dunbar defense.
"They didn't give us anything easy," Catholic Coach Terry Quigley said. "They really frustrated us."
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But the Knights fought through that frustration and found a way to get past the No. 25 Bulldogs 1-0 on a goal by Chelsea Smith in the 27th District Tournament at Lexington Christian.
Catholic, which has won the district tournament three straight years, advanced to the title game, where it will face No. 3 West Jessamine, a 3-1 winner over LCA. Early on, it didn't look like the Knights would get their anticipated rematch with the Colts.
"If we didn't look good in the first half, it's because Dunbar didn't let us look good," Coach Terry Quigley said. "Dunbar had an excellent game plan."
Pressuring the Knights was the game plan, Coach Emily Coleman said.
"We wanted to give them a lot of pressure, as much pressure as possible," she said. "No team should be put up on a pedestal, and I feel like that's the way they are. They're just like anybody else."
The Dunbar plan worked well.
"I think we thought it was going to be easier," said Catholic forward Chelsea Smith. "We had to step our game up a lot in the second half."
Smith got the Knights on the board when she followed an Erin Prater shot after it deflected off of keeper Lindsay Delventhal and sent it back into the net with a little more than 20 minutes to play.
"I knew I had to be up there just in case she missed it," Smith said. "At first I thought (my shot) was going out."
Quigley was relieved to see Smith's shot go in.
"My stomach finally settled down a little bit," Quigley said. "When (Prater) missed it, I didn't see Chelsea immediately, but once I saw her there, I felt much better."
Dunbar kept at it and applied serious pressure on the Catholic defense in the waning minutes.
"At the end, we just tried to get it out of our end because it was getting kind of scary back there," defender M.C. Combs said.
West Jessamine 3, Lexington Christian 1: The Colts' Arin Gilliland scored 12 seconds into the game, but LCA absorbed the shock and evened it up 13 seconds later on a hot shot by Kelsey Ach.
But that goal would be the last for the No. 18 Eagles, who fell in the semifinals and had their three-game win streak snapped. Third-ranked West went ahead 2-1 on an own goal by the Eagles after a defensive miscue in the box five minutes into the game.
With 23 minutes to go in the first half, Courtney Peavler added an insurance goal, taking a ball played off the end line and sending it into the goal.
Neither team scored in the second half, and West won the shot count 11-8.
Lexington Catholic 1, Paul Dunbar 0
Goal—LC: Chelsea Smith. Goalkeepers—PLD: Lindsay Delventhal; LC: Courtney Thomerson.
Records—Paul Dunbar 10-5-3, Lexington Catholic 13-3-2.
West Jessamine 3, Lexington Christian 1
Goal—WJ: Arin Gilliland, Courtney Peavler, own goal; LCA: Kelsey Ach. Goalkeepers—LCA: Myranda Powers; WJ: Michelle Sutherland.
Records—Lexington Christian 12-4-3, West Jessamine 14-1-3.