Lexington Catholic has its eyes on a third straight appearance in the KHSAA Girls’ State Soccer Championship finals.
First, it had to win its postseason opener. The Knights got that out of the way, defeating Lexington Christian 4-0 in the semifinals of the 43rd District tournament at LCA on Tuesday night.
Four players scored for the Knights in soggy conditions, particularly in the second half as heavy rain had drenched the field toward the end of the opening 40 minutes and into the break. The weather calmed but resulted in standing water on the field, which forced the postponement of the second semifinal between Paul Laurence Dunbar and Tates Creek. That matchup will be played at 7 p.m. Wednesday at LCA. If field conditions aren’t improved Wednesday, the plan was to play the game at 8 p.m. at Lafayette.
“It was a tough game. Sometimes the rain was horrible,” Catholic Coach Terry Quigley said with a laugh.
Kennedy Tranter, a senior who has committed to the University of Kentucky, uncorked a shot from about 25 yards out that sailed over the hands of LCA keeper Grace Henry to get Lexington Catholic on the board in the 27th minute. Sophomore Maggie Corbett had a goal go off Henry’s fingertips into the net 10 minutes later to give the Knights a 2-0 halftime edge. Alexis Burdine and Emma Harper netted goals for the Knights in the 61st and 71st minutes, respectively.
Tranter’s shot was a difference-maker for the Knights, Quigley said.
“It could really be considered a game-changer because it gave us confidence,” he said. “I think Kennedy’s shot gave us a shot in the arm that we really needed and we played better after that.”
He lauded sophomore McKenna Hamm, a center back, for being the first Catholic player to identify a need to kick the ball through instead of trying to needle it from player to player in slick conditions.
“The girls learned pretty quickly that they had to send the ball and take it from the defensive end into the offensive end and just hope,” Quigley said with a laugh.
Hamm had an upbeat attitude about the less-than-ideal playing surface.
“It definitely tests you in different ways,” Hamm said. “We all played together as a team, which makes it fun. You just have to put the rain aside. We were all like, ‘Think it’s sunny and 85.’”
Lexington Catholic will seek its fourth straight 43rd District title when it takes the field Thursday night. The Knights have won 23 straight games against their district sisters.
LCA brought the attack early, getting off three good looks immediately after the contest began.
“The first five minutes was all Lexington Christian,” Quigley said. “They missed some shots and they’d beat us pretty good a couple times. … We could’ve been down in the first five minutes.”