High School Sports

11th Region boys' soccer: Paul Dunbar and Henry Clay advance to region final

Paul Dunbar's Jean-Samuel Poirier, center, tried for a header over Woodford County keeper Servando Becerra (00) in a crowd with Woodford's Michael Ethington (10) Thursday.
Paul Dunbar's Jean-Samuel Poirier, center, tried for a header over Woodford County keeper Servando Becerra (00) in a crowd with Woodford's Michael Ethington (10) Thursday. Herald-Leader

It wasn't about who struck first Thursday.

Dunbar and Henry Clay both fell into 1-0 holes before clawing back to win semifinal matches in the boys' 11th Region soccer tournament at Lafayette.

Dunbar upended Woodford County 4-2, while Henry Clay topped Model 2-1.

The championship match is set for Saturday at 7 p.m.

Dunbar 4, Woodford Co. 2: The top-ranked Bulldogs beat the Yellowjackets for the third time this season.

Like the two regular-season matches, this was a two-goal decision.

"Woodford's a very good team and they're very well coached and they're so dangerous," Dunbar Coach Todd Bretz said. "We knew that we probably weren't going to keep them out of the goal. We just knew we had to try to respond. ... We had the response, and we're lucky we did."

Isaac Hayes gave the seventh-ranked Yellowjackets (16-4-2) the early lead, breaking in on the left wing and firing from about 10 yards out with 24:23 left in the half.

Dunbar (21-1-2) stormed back, though, starting with Luke Norris' goal with 16:35 left. The score came off pinpoint passing from Alejandro Dugue high on the right side, to Riley Calhoon low on the right, then to Norris on the back door.

Norris made it 2-1 with about eight minutes left when his cross hit off the goalkeeper and caromed into the net.

Dugue scored from about 15 yards out with 2:03 left in the half, giving the Bulldogs a two-goal cushion at haltime.

"The first goal they scored was a hustle play — the ball bouncing around in there, and the desires came through and whoever had more desire put it in the back of the net. So, can't complain about that too much," Woodford Coach Fonyam Atanga said. "You all saw the second goal which, psychologically for us, was tough to take for the team because we'd been playing well despite giving up the tying goal.

"Whenever you have a letdown like that, especially against a team that's already beaten you twice and is No. 1 in the state, you know they'll make you pay for stuff. And they did. I think at that point I realized my team was in a bit of trouble."

Dunbar needed only 1:51 into the second half to push its lead to 4-1.

Riley Calhoon set the score up for Ricky Clemente, who converted from about 10 yards out.

Only 14:12 remained when Woodford's Daniel Christian scored off a quick-start free kick.

"They played with a lot of heart," Bretz said of his Bulldogs. "They did the little things that they needed to do defensively. They worked very hard and limited Woodford County's chances. If you give them any chance whatsoever they'll bury it like they did."

A few snowflakes fell during first-half play. And a light rain before the match left the surface faster than expected, Atanga said.

"It didn't allow for us to play the way we like to play," Atanga said. "We battled through a lot of elements today and we just came up a little short."

Henry Clay 2, Model 1: The 21st-ranked Patriots (18-2) took the lead on Taylor Gentry's goal 2:37 into the match, but Henry Clay buckled down after that.

"We've been fortunate enough to come out of quite a few holes this season," Henry Clay Coach Tim Bernardi said. "Fortunately these guys are kind of resilient. Got down the first four minutes — just an unmarked man on the back post. But we managed to scrap and claw, and found our way back."

The Blue Devils (14-5-3) tied on Collin Rose's goal from the top of the penalty box with 35:21 left.

The winner came with 15:48 left. Thomas Ueland worked his way to the edge of the goal box and put just enough mustard on a shot to power it past the goalkeeper.

"Saturday's going to be a big match. Dunbar's definitely a great team," Bernardi said. "We're going to definitely have to be able to use our strengths to our advantage. And obviously speed is a big component of theirs, the passing movement, so being able to stay with marks I think is going to be a big component to it for us."

Dunbar 4, Woodford County 2

Goals — WC: Isaac Hayes, Daniel Christian; D: Luke Norris 2, Alejandro Dugue, Ricky Clemente. Goalkeepers — WC: Esteban Favetto; D: Nick Clark. Records — WC: 16-4-2; D: 21-1-2.

Henry Clay 2, Model 1

Goals — M: Taylor Gentry; HC: Collin Rose, Thomas Ueland. Goalkeepers — M: Levi Agee; HC: Itai Kumengissa. Records — M: 18-2; HC: 14-5-3.


11th Region Tournament finals

7 p.m. — Dunbar vs. Henry Clay

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