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MOUNT WASHINGTON - When two national soccer teams meet when there is nothing on the line except pride, the contest is called a ‘friendly.’
Well, for the first time in almost 20 years of competing against each other, Bullitt East and North Bullitt got together on Thursday in Mount Washington for a ‘friendly.’ Scoring five straight goals after North Bullitt had scored in the opening minute, Bullitt East rolled to a 6-2 victory.
This was the only regular season meeting scheduled between the two rivals this fall.
The big change in the rivalry came about as the two schools are no longer in the same district. So, the game had nothing to do with post-season seeding as it has in the past. This game was strictly for pride.
Now, North Bullitt resides in the 23rd District while Bullitt East is in the 24th District. There is a good possibility that the two teams could collide again in the Sixth Region Tournament the week of Oct. 15.
On Thursday, North Bullitt took the opening kick and went right down the field. After the ball bounced around in front of the goal, North Bullitt sophomore Rachel Badgett knocked a deflection from Bullitt East goaltender Kyra Banta into the back of the net.
Less than a minute had run off the clock.
“I think maybe we were a little nervous,” second-year Bullitt East head coach Richard Carver said after the match. “It was an important match for us.
“It’s always good between Bullitt East and North Bullitt,” the coach said. “We respect each other. We play to win and not to not lose. We approach every game the same way. The girls know that.”
But Bullitt East had an answer for that early goal. Before halftime, the Lady Chargers had answered with four straight goals. The red and gold added another early in the second half before Badgett got a goal for North Bullitt on a penalty kick. Bullitt East then added a late goal for good measure.
The Lady Chargers have a strong offensive core in seniors Jessi Hottois and Lexi Higginbotham along with sophomore Alnee Tutson. Tutson scored three of the goals in this win while Hottois had two and Higginbotham one. Junior Megan Roby came forward and assisted on two of the goals.
“We’ve been focusing on the final third of the field,” Carver said of finishing when the team gets the chance in front of the goal. “There are some things we’re going to control the ball. The girls picked it up after the Ballard game.”
North Bullitt had trouble marking Bullitt East’s offensive playmakers in the box.
“It was one of those days,” North Bullitt head coach Ryan Bringhurst said. “They have that trio of players with Higginbotham and Alnee and Hottois and then they have some other skill players. They are strong and elusive.”
The first minute went right for North Bullitt, but they could not build on that early success.
“Anythime you can come out against a good team and get the lead it’s a good thing,” Bringhurst said. “That’s what you want. We did that against them the last time we met in the district tournament and couldn’t hold on. It was the same thing today.”
In the new district alignment, both North Bullitt and Bullitt East have gone from being in the middle of the pact in the old Ninth District to being contender not only in their respective districts, but also the Sixth Region.
There are 20 schools in the Sixth Region, but after the first three weeks of the season, only 12 had played a game. It takes eight teams to compete in a regional tournament. Of the 12 teams that have played a game so far this season, Bullitt East is the only team with a winning record at 6-2.
It has been an electric year for Bullitt East in 2012 - literally. Twice in the first seven games, Bullitt East contests have been stopped because of lightning. One of those was a 3-2 loss to Ballard that was called with 21 minute remaining. Carver’s team did defeat 24th District rival Jeffersontown 7-0 in another game that was stopped early by the weather.
Bullitt East is already 2-0 in district play with wins over Fern Creek (4-0) and Jeffersontown (7-0). Games with Mercy and Whitefield Academy are still to be played in late September.
North Bullitt struggled with an ambitious schedule early in the season. The green and gold did not score in four games of the SON Tournament in Oldham County. In fact, the squad lost six straight games without scoring a goal after beating Fort Knox to open the season.
That changed ten days ago as the Lady Eagles beat Seneca (9-0), Henry County (5-2) and Southern (10-0). Badgett is leading the team with eight goals while Taylor Johnson has scored seven times. Breanna Sherrard has assisted on five goals.
North Bullitt is now 4-7 overall and 1-0 in 23rd District play with a key match at home against Bullitt Central on Wednesday.
The Lady Cougars have opened the season with some success this year as first-year head coach Brandy Sharp’s team is 1-2-1 heading into the big showdown match with North Bullitt on Wednesday.
The win came last week as Bullitt Central rolled past visiting Whitefield Academy 5-2. The Lady Cougars also had a 4-4 tie with LaRue County. There was also a 7-3 loss to Butler in the first game of the season as well as a 1-0 setback to Grayson County.