Senior Katlyn Kinkade’s sixth-round penalty kick made winners of the Lady Cougar soccer team Thursday night against Meade County, giving them their first-ever 11th District Soccer Championship.
At the end of regulation, the two evenly-matched teams were tied at 1-1. They then went into overtime, where they played two, five-minute periods. At the end of the extra 10 minutes, the two teams were still tied, so it then went to penalty kicks to decide the winner.
The way the penalty kicks worked is that each team chose five players to take the kicks, with each team alternating shots, beginning with Meade County. If at the end of those five kicks the teams were still tied, then five more players were chosen to take kicks, only this time being sudden death. Meade County had the first shot and if they scored Grayson County would have one chance to match a goal or win it outright.
Grayson County’s sophomore goal keeper, Gabby Priddy, played the game of her life, making save after spectacular save all night. She then stopped three of the six penalty kicks, with a fourth Meade County shot sailing over the cross bar. Priddy was named to the All-Tournament team, along with Morgan Uebelacker and Bailey Reed.
Also coming up huge for the Lady Cougars was junior Holly Hayes. The fifth shooter in the first round, Hayes approached the ball with her team trailing 2-1. If she made the shot, it would send the game into sudden death, but if she missed the game would be over and Meade County would wear the district crown.
She made it, beating Meade County goalie Shonte Williams on her right side.
In the sixth round, Priddy stopped her third shot of the shootout, thwarting Meade County’s Madison Reff. That brought Kinkade to the penalty spot.
On every shot that the Lady Cougars took in the shootout, Williams stood off-center, closer to the left upright than to the center, where keepers usually guard on penalty kicks. Twice, she was able to stop shots to her right, by Gabriella Shartzer and Emily Strader, but Hayes had beaten her to the right.
Because Williams stood more to the left, she tended to immediately break to her right. Reed had noticed that and beat Williams to her left for Grayson County’s first score in the shootout. And that’s what Kinkade did on her winning shot. Williams dove but could not reach the ball. As the ball hit the back of the net, the Lady Cougars mobbed Kinkade and celebrated their win.
The two teams had reached the finals with big wins in the opening round. On Monday, the Lady Waves mercy-ruled Butler County 10-0. Then on Tuesday, Grayson County beat Breckinridge County 7-1.
At the start of regulation play, Meade seemed to be controlling the action. They had a couple of chances in the first eight minutes, but each time Priddy came up with a save. But in the ninth minute senior Jordyn Wayne got a ball past Priddy to make it 1-0. That would be all of the scoring for the Lady Waves the rest of regulation.
As play went on in the first half, the Lady Cougars began to have a few more chances. In the 30th minute, Uebelacker raced in on a through ball and seemed to be fouled by Williams, who had come out of the net. Nothing was called and play continued.
In the 38th minute the Lady Cougars had their best opportunity at a goal. Uebelacker found herself unchecked behind the Lady Wave defense. She took the ball in toward the goal and unleashed a shot from about 10 yards out. Williams was able to dive to her right and just get a finger on the ball, defelecting it wide of the left upright.
The score stayed that way until well into the second half. Priddy continued coming up with saves, including a diving stop of a hard shot in the 59th minute.
The Lady Cougars finally got the equalizer in the 67th minute of play. Uebelacker fought off two defenders at mid-field, and took the ball toward the Meade goal. The Lady Cougars had had a couple of chances with through balls that were just a touch too hard and Williams was able to come out of the goal to stop the threats.
But this time Uebelacker’s pass was perfect. As Williams came out to try to get it, Reed beat her to the ball and put a soft, bouncing shot past her and into the goal, tying things at 1-1.
Meade County began applying intense pressure on the Grayson goal, but Priddy and her teammates were up to the task and held them out until the end of regulation.
In the two overtime periods, the Lady Waves kept the ball in the Grayson end nearly the entire 10 minutes, but could not crack the Lady Cougar defense, thus setting up the thrilling penalty-kick shootout.
This was no contest from the start as Uebelacker scored in the second minute to give the Lady Cougars a quick 1-0 lead.
Uebelacker had another shot glance off the upright in the 16th minute, but got her second goal of the night in the 22nd minute when Breck goalie Lindsay Roberts missed catching a direct kick from Reed and Uebelacker put the miss in the net to make it 2-0.
Uebelacker made it 3-0 in the 30th minute, taking a pass from Reed and chipping it over Lindsay’s head and into the goal.
A minute later, Uebelacker’s shot got past Lindsay and right to Reed, who put it in from about two feet to make it 4-0. Reed scored twice more in the closing minutes to give Grayson County a 6-0 lead at the half.
Reed scored Grayson County’s final goal in the 63rd minute after Haley Brooks put a throw in right on goal. Nikki Rogers, who took over in goal for Breck in the second half, allowed the ball to get past her and Reed flew in to put it in the goal to make it 7-0.
With a lot of Grayson County bench players in the game, Breck got on the board with under two minutes left to play. The ball was pin-balled around in front of the Lady Cougar goal several times before Roberts, the first-half goalie, got a foot to the ball and put it in to make the final score 7-1.