The 5th-ranked Lexington Catholic girls soccer team appeared on the verge of breaking through several times in its second home game of the year on Monday. The Knights managed 12 shots on goal but couldn’t find the back of the net, tying Assumption 0-0 and running their record to 1-2-2 on the year.
LexCath has navigated a brutal schedule out of the gate that included a rematch of last year’s state championship game in which the Knights fell to Sacred Heart 1-0. The Valkyries, ranked No. 1 in the preseason coaches poll, topped Catholic 2-1 in last week’s season opener. The Knights also fell 1-0 to Briarcrest Christian, the defending Tennessee state champions, in a tournament in Gatlinburg.
Head coach Terry Quigley says the difficult schedule will pay dividends down the road.
“Our schedule should produce an ugly record early on,” he said. “We’ve lost to two state champs but those tough games will help. We have to keep growing and I think the girls will do it, but they have to go out and prove it.”
The Knights lost 12 seniors from that state runner-up squad and Quigley says replacing their intangibles is just as important as replacing their production.
“Every year you have to replace players, and you also have to replace their leadership on the field,” he said. “So right now we’re doing two things at once. And we also need to develop a team character. I don’t think we’ve quite done that yet but we’re getting there.”
Team captain Kasey Neuer says last season’s championship game disappointment still sticks in the team’s craw and gives them incentive to fight their way back to the finals.
“I know as seniors we were that close last year to those rings and we kind of have a little bit of a grudge this year,” she said. “If we just keep pushing and get everyone to work together I know we can get back there this year … we have something to prove.”
Six starters remain from last year’s team, including University of Kentucky signee Kennedy Tranter. The junior said the team has found an interesting way to build chemistry early in the season.
“We do a lot of team bonding, we go to team breakfasts after three-hour practices,” she said. “And we go and toilet paper our coach’s house.”
She insists Quigley is in on the joke.
“He loves when we do it. We don’t even have to clean it up, he cleans it up the next morning. It’s pretty nice.”
Tranter said the mischievous bonding sessions and the guidance of the leaders are helping the team round into shape.
“Our captains are doing a really good job of communicating with us and getting us to the point where we need to be,” she said. “We’ve got the pieces to be really good again and we’re only gonna get better.”
LEXINGTON CATHOLIC 0, ASSUMPTION 0
Goalkeepers—L: Liz Thompson, Olivia Williams; A: Alyssa Campisano
Records—Lexington Catholic 1-2-2; Assumption 1-0-2