Tates Creek wasn’t supposed to reach the 11th Region girls’ soccer finals, but it missed that memo.
The Commodores, ranked 14th in the latest Maher Rankings, defeated No. 3 Henry Clay 2-0 on the Blue Devils’ home field Thursday night to advance to the region championship game, scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday on the same turf. Tates Creek will Lexington Catholic, whom it defeated in the 43rd District finals last week.
Shae Robertson and Carsyn Prigge scored for the Commodores in the second half, each netting balls off set pieces. Brooke McNees had a free kick hit the feet of Prigge, who had a shot attempt fail but collected by Robertson, who dropped it into the left corner in the 47th minute. Prigge headed in a corner kick by McNees in the 63rd minute to extend Tates Creek’s lead to 2-0.
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The Commodores avenged a 3-1 loss at Henry Clay this season and defeated the Blue Devils for the first time since 2015. It was the second straight shutout for Tates Creek after a 1-0 victory over Woodford County in the first round Monday.
Goalkeeper Jenna Shalash was a major factor. Commodores Coach Ally Tucker joked that she had about 400 saves Thursday night.
“I’m a little tired. But, honestly, I don’t know what to think right now,” Shalash said. “It’ll hit me when I get home. I’m really proud of us.”
Shalash finished somewhere in the neighborhood of 15-18 saves but it sure felt like 400, especially in the first half as the Blue Devils released shot after shot on goal. If not for Shalash’s timely dives and jumps, Tates Creek could have been fighting a deficit in the final 40 minutes.
“We knew we survived that first half,” Tucker said. “We could’ve very easily been down at halftime. … (Shalash) and her defense, they’re trying not to give up any goals, and it’s working so far.
“They were just tougher than we were in the first half, and they got to every ball first,” Tucker said. “I think we settled in a little bit in the second half and our midfield really stepped up.”
Tates Creek will play for an 11th Region title for the first time since 2013, when it defeated Scott County 6-1 and advanced to the state semifinals.
Tucker didn’t postulate on what was then a hypothetical sequel to last week’s district championship game, instead cherishing the moment at hand.
“That was a huge win for us because that’s a great team over there,” Tucker said.
In the memo, it was another team considered greater than Creek. Good thing it keeps missing those.
Lexington Catholic 3, Franklin County 1
The Knights advanced to their third straight 11th Region championship game with the win.
Kennedy Tranter (14th minute), Alexis Burdine (37’) and Abby Van Hoeve (76’) scored for Lexington Catholic, which earned a shot to knock out Tates Creek on Saturday after the Commodores unseated the Knights from the 43rd District throne.
“Tates Creek had to play a heck of a game today. Henry Clay was quality,” LexCath Coach Terry Quigley said. “So, my hat’s off to them because they had to overcome some pressure and a very strong team.”
Quigley said his goal each season is to make the region title game; mission accomplished.
“Some people think ‘I gotta get to state,’ or something like that,” Quigley said. “I just want to get to the region final and see what happens. I think it’ll be a good game on Saturday.”
Madeline Clements scored for Franklin County in the 55th minute.
Finals at Henry Clay
6 p.m.: Tates Creek vs. Lexington Catholic