High School Sports

Girls soccer, state semis: Tates Creek 4, West Jessamine 0

Tates Creek's Elaine Simpson (10) drove down the field with pressure from West Jessamine's Rachel Craycraft. Simpson, a senior, scored a hat trick in the opening half.
Tates Creek's Elaine Simpson (10) drove down the field with pressure from West Jessamine's Rachel Craycraft. Simpson, a senior, scored a hat trick in the opening half. Herald-Leader

Trick-or-treat night may be a week away, but Elaine Simpson just couldn't wait.

Her first-half trick was the treat Monday in Tates Creek's 4-0 sub-section win over visiting West Jessamine.

The second-ranked Lady Commodores thus move on to the Elite Eight, to meet Murray in a semi-state match at Lafayette, Saturday at 3 p.m. Creek has won its last four matches and five of six.

Simpson, a senior, scored the first three goals.

Creek (20-1-4) made it 4-0, Destinie Graves scoring with a second left in the half.

Unofficially, Creek outshot the Lady Colts 24-5.

"We really focused on if we could finish. If we could just finish our opportunities, we knew it would change the game," Commodores Coach Bo Lankster said. "We wanted to finish early and often, and we did.

"They have a heck of a team over there and Kevin (Wright, West's coach) always does a great job. ... We knew that they were going to bring a lot of energy, but when you score early goals, it just changes things. And our girls were determined to do that tonight."

Simpson struck 4:24 in on a one-touch shot from just outside the goal box. Aaron Lankster's centered the ball.

"It was surprising," Simpson said. "But I knew it was coming across and I just flung my whole body at it, and I got a touch on it."

Katie Workman's free kick from near midfield found Simpson for a second goal, from inside the 18, at 13:40.

Graves passed within the penalty box to Simpson for her third goal of the night and 11th of the season at 36:28.

"All of them, I was just finishing the crosses," Simpson said. "But the crosses were really great tonight and everyone was working really hard to get to the end line."

Graves scored her 31st goal of the season by heading in a deflection of Mallory Eubanks' corner kick.

"They've got a quality squad. Bo does a great job with them," Wright said. "They're loaded with juniors and seniors. They've got weapons all over the field. And it just wasn't our night.

"You give up some early goals like that — we had a hard time on the flanks. Everything came off of either a free kick, corner or crosses. What these seniors have accomplished in four years, you can't take that away."

No. 18 West (14-5-7), which played Creek to a 1-1 draw during the regular season, won its fourth region title in six years.

The Colts had no answers Monday, though.

Arly Lankster made just two saves in the Creek goal, as compared to nine by West's Rebekah Hulsing.

"Katie (Workman) and Ashley (Whaley) and Abriana (McKinney) are amazing," Arly Lankster said of Creek's back line. "They're doing great, especially with the loss of Abby (Van Bussum, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last week). They're really working hard to get back at it and keep up the good work because we didn't want to let one loss of a player (cost) us the rest of the season. ... I'm really proud of them."

Bo Lankster, father of Aaron, Arly and Bailey, may have the team to go all the way.

"I couldn't be more proud of them," he said. "Everybody's accepting their role. That's the thing," he said. "We're asking Ashley Whaley to do some different things, and people are just accepting their role, and it's working out for us right now."

Tates Creek 4, West Jessamine 0

Goals—TC: Elaine Simpson 3, Destinie Graves. Goalkeepers—WJ: Rebekah Hulsing; TC: Arly Lankster. Records—WJ: 14-5-7; TC: 20-1-4.

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader