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Early offense pushes Lady Chargers past North 4-0

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Girls' Soccer

By Mike Farner

 HEBRON ESTATES – Scoring twice in the first 15 minutes of the contest, the Bullitt East Lady Chargers rode that quick start to a 4-0 victory on Monday over North Bullitt in a battle of two of the top teams in the Sixth Region.

This was the first contest between the two programs since Bullitt East beat the Lady Eagles by the same 4-0 score in last season’s regional semi-finals.

After dropping the first two games of the season, the win on Monday was the fifth in a row for the Lady Chargers. North Bullitt dropped to 3-2-2.

On a warm day on Monday, the game was broken down into quarters instead of halves with the teams getting a water/rest break at the 20-minute mark. By the first break, Bullitt East had goals from freshman Christian Foster and Kacie Hechelbech to take control of the contest.

“We like to get out fast and run and score,” first-year Bullitt East head coach Steven Gentry said after the varsity contest. “I feel if we can defend a little better, we should be able to score in most games.”

In the second half, the Lady Chargers got its third goal from Elizabeth Hatter and Foster added the final goal in the closing minutes of the contest.

After starting the season 0-2 with a 4-0 loss and a 4-2 setback to Owensboro Catholic, Gentry moved speedy senior Meghan Roby from offense to defense. The team’s only senior starter shored up that part of the game and Bullitt East has not last since that move.

“We have players who can score,” Gentry said of not using the runner-up in last spring’s Class AA State Track Championships in the 100-meter dash up front. “She is such a force on defense. She is our only senior starter.

“After we lost those first two games she came to me and said she can play any where,” Gentry recalled. “I was a little hesitant to do it. We have a freshman on one side of her and a sophomore on the other. They are learning a lot.”

Gentry had been an assistant coach under three former Bullitt East head coaches before betting the reins of the program last spring. He has been pleased with the team over the first three weeks of the season.

“It’s been pretty much what I expected,” he said. “We lost those first two, but those were two pretty good teams. We had some lineup issues. We lost some good scorers off last year’s team and we questioned how much we could score early in the season.

“It was good for us to play those two good teams early,” Gentry added. “We then beat a pretty good Collins team before we beat some weaker teams before playing North Bullitt today.”

In that winning stretch, Bullitt East picked up district wins over Jeffersntown and Fern Creek. The Lady Chargers still have a district contest with Whitefield Academy before a showdown match with defending district and regional champion Mercy on Sept. 23.

Over the first seven games, the Lady Chargers have gotten eight goals from Foster as well as seven from junior Alnee Tutson and five from Hatter.

North Bullitt is going to have a say in the post-season, but first-year head coach JoAnna Hale thought her team might have been a little too pumped up for the only regular season meeting with their county rivals this year.

“I think that we’re a better team than we showed tonight,” the coach said after the loss. “We’ll see them in the regional tournament and we’ll show we’re a better team.”

Bullitt East rotated more players into the game and Hale felt that the heat took something out of her players. That probably won’t be a factor in the post-season.

“I would say it took a toll on us,” the coach noted. “We don’t have as many subs.”

The Lady Eagles have had to battle through some injuries to key players this fall. Hale mentioned three starters who had missed earlier games but they did play on Monday, the first time in several weeks for some of them.

“Overall, we’re having a great year,” Hale said. “We’re playing some competitive teams and we’re staying with them. This was the first setback tonight.”

To open the season, North Bullitt rolled past Fort Knox, Pleasure Ridge Park and Butler, outscoring those three teams 20-4. The road was a little bumpier over the Labor Day weekend as the Lady Eagles tied Scott (0-0) and Ashland Blazer (1-1) before losing 8-2 to Bourbon County, the host team of the tournament.

Through the first seven games the Lady Eagles have been led in scoring by senior Taylor Johnson with nine goals while junior Rachel Badgett has scored eight times.

North Bullitt has yet to play a district game yet this season. The Lady Eagles were set to play Moore, but that game was postponed. A make-up date has not been set. North Bullitt will play Southern today at home in a district contest and will then take on Bullitt Central in a key 23rd District contest next Wednesday at home. 

Bullitt Central Rolling

Under first-year head coach Becca Moore, the Bullitt Central Lady Cougars have started quickly, winning their first two games before dropping a decision to Meade County 8-1 on Monday.

The maroon and gray opened the season with a 10-0 victory over district rival Southern as sophomore Kassi Gilbert scored five goals. The Lady Cougars followed that up with a 6-3 decision at Grayson County.

The team was set to play three times this week including a district game against Moore on Wednesday of this week before traveling to North Bullitt next Wednesday.