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OKOLONA – For the second time in as many seasons the Girls’ 23rd District Soccer Champion will be from Bullitt County after North Bullitt and Bullitt Central won semi-final round matches on Monday at Moore High School.
The two rivals were going to meet on Tuesday night in the championship game just as they did last year with North Bullitt winning. Both teams will advance to next week’s Sixth Region Tournament no matter the outcome on Tuesday.
(Because of The Pioneer News’ deadlines, the result of Tuesday’s final contest will be in Monday’s edition as well as the bracket for the regional tournament).
In the first game on Monday, top-seeded North Bullitt had no trouble rolling into the championship game as they blitzed Moore High School 8-0 despite the fact that first-year head coach JoAnna Hale did not think her team was particularly motivated to play well. The Lady Eagles had beaten Moore 9-0 back on Sept. 26.
Bullitt Central then joined their county brethren in the final later on Monday night as they beat Southern 6-2 behind four goals by sophomore Kassi Gilbert. The Lady Cougars only led 2-1 at halftime before pulling away early in the second half.
North Bullitt Rolls
It has been a strong season for the Lady Eagles and they are chomping at the bit to test their mettle against Mercy and Bullitt East when regional play begins next week. Battling Moore was just a tune-up for the Lady Eagles who didn’t really have a lot of motivation for this game.
“I would say not as motivated as I would like us to be,” Hale said after the win. “We still played a good game. Moore has an amazing goalie.”
Still, North Bullitt was ahead 4-0 at halftime and then just put it on cruise control in the second half.
The Lady Eagles had four goals by senior Taylor Johnson and her younger sister, Amber, scored one goal. North Bullitt also got single goals from Rachel Badgett, Tabitha Schweinhart and Kristi Velasquez.
The was no push or game plan to get Taylor Johnson into the center of the attack. That is just how it worked out.
“We just planned to play our game,” Hale explained. “We don’t focus on any one player on offense. We have a lot of other girls who can score as well.”
Winning this game was not high on the list of goals for this North Bullitt squad which has six seniors.
“We want to beat Bullitt East in the regional,” Hale pointed out. “That our goal. I feel it is in our reach.”
North Bullitt improved to 11-6-4 with the win, snapping a two-game losing streak to tough opponents during the final week of the regular season.
The Lady Eagles will now take on Bullitt Central, a team that they defeated 8-0 at home on Sept. 18.
Bullitt Central Pulls Away
Down three starters when the game began and with only 16 players in uniform, Monday night’s second game was a little more harrowing than Bullitt Central head coach Becca Moore would have liked.
Still, the Lady Cougars had too much for Southern as the maroon and gray pulled away in the second half to secure a 6-2 victory. Bullitt Central had defeated the Lady Trojans 10-0 back in the first game of the season in late August.
Bullitt Central actually had too much Kassi Gilbert as the sophomore speedster took advantage of a sagging Southern defense that left the middle of the field undefended. Twice in the first half Gilbert got the ball on her team’s end of the field and then dribbled 50 yards down the field before encountering any defense. She then made one move around a defender and then found the back of the net.
Those two quick goals put Bullitt Central on top 2-0 midway through the first half. The Lady Cougars got a little stagnant after that and gave up a goal at the 12-minute mark that made the game close at halftime.
That didn’t last long as just three minutes into the second half, Gilbert was at it again, slicing through the defense this time in close order drill, taking an assist from Karie Skelton and scoring. Just before the midway point of the second half, Gilbert took a corner kick that came down in front of the goal. The Lady Cougars got one shot that was deflected, but the ball found the foot of Rebecca Todd who pushed it past the diving goalie.
With 13 minutes remaining, Gilbert got her fourth goal as she dribbled in and scored from close range. After Southern had scored on a penalty kick with less than seven minutes to play, Bullitt Central tacked on the final goal when junior Hope Grimes chipped a shot over the goalie’s head and just under the crossbar to account for the final score.
Bullitt Central had not played in 11 days and their practice during Fall Break the week before was very limited. Still, Moore was pleased with the overall effort of her small squad.
“We were really just pleased with how they played after they had the time off,” the coach said after a celebration on the field. “They were committed to working out on their own.
“We’ve been focusing on our passing and conditioning,” Moore added. “They had that tonight. We wanted good communication and we got a lot of that.”
The win moved Bullitt Central to 6-5 overall heading into Tuesday’s game with North Bullitt
In the opening game of the Boys’ 24th District Tournament at Fern Creek, Bullitt East saw their season come to a close with a tough 2-1 loss to Whitefield Academy.
The game was a rematch of a classic regular season meeting in which Bullitt East had prevailed 2-1 in overtime. Bullitt East was the number two seed in the event while Whitefield had the number three seed.
The only goal for the Chargers was scored by junior Nick Heichelbech.
Bullitt East’s season ended with a 9-8-1 record.
Whitefield Academy will advance to Thursday’s championship game that will be played at Fern Creek.