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HEBRON ESTATES - The rain cleared out after a 50-minute delay, but nothing was decided on the field as the North Bullitt Lady Eagles and the Bullitt East Lady Chargers battled to a 1-1 tie in the only regular season meeting this season between the two rivals.
At 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the two teams took the field, but just before the opening whistle, a crack of thunder sent both teams back to their benches. Lightning a few moments later sent them to the gym at North Bullitt where the teams sat and waited for 40 minutes.
Finally, the weather broke and the teams went at each other. Bullitt East at one time dominated this series, but over the last couple of years North Bullitt has been winning the games. This time, the two teams are pretty even.
“I’m pleased with the way we played,” Bullitt East head coach Brittany Orme said. She played for the Lady Chargers when they used to beat the Lady Eagles consistently.
“I felt like we should have won,” the coach added. “We controlled that game. We have come a long way and I’m very pleased.”
Just two days earlier, Bullitt East had beaten Bullitt Central 9-0 and the day before they beat Pleasure Ridge Park 4-0.
For North Bullitt the story of the season has been a tough schedule that has meant a lot of loses, but first-year head coach Justin Maddock feels that the team will be better for it late in the season.
“We definitely created a lot of chances in the second half,” Maddock said. “That’s all I can ask for.”
North Bullitt had three shots go off the cross bar in the first half and then a couple more in the second half.
Bullitt East drew first blood in the contest when freshman Jessi Hottois took a cross that was misplayed in front of the net and she buried it 12 minutes into the game.
North Bullitt didn’t have quite as many chances as the Lady Chargers in the first half, but did then even the score at the 30 minute mark. Senior Lindsey Shepherd, who had been working on the right side of the goal for most of the first half, drifted over to the left side and got lost by the defense. She made a short run with the ball and then drilled a shot past the goalie from 15 yards out.
That was it for the scoring. For the past several years, high school games have not included any extra time during the regular season. Games just end in a tie.
Both coaches wanted to play the game (the teams would have had to make the game up at some point because they must play once in the regular season for seeding in the district tournament), but it was a tough situation waiting for the weather to clear.
“We just went in the gym and tried to stay calm,” Orme said. “This is a game both teams get excited about every year. We really wanted to get it in.”
“We kept them together in the locker room Maddock said. “It’s the worst situation you can have. The girls get pumped up and take the field and then have to come right back off the field.”
Maddock, who is coaching for the first time in the area, quickly learned the intensity involved in this county rivalry.
“I think no matter what girl you put out there, but if you say Bullitt East or Bullitt Central it going to be an intense game,” he pointed out.
At this point in the season there isn’t a lot of scoring going on.
“At this point I haven’t done much scouting,” Maddock said. “We have played a tough schedule. We know all the teams are good. We just play our game first.”
Orme coached against North Bullitt last year, but she didn’t alter her defense to try and stop Shepherd, the Lady Eagles’ top scoring threat.
“That was just our regular defense,” the coach said. “We have been playing defense like that all year.”
Bullitt East started the game with Emily Gentry in goal but then switched to Katie Stewart late in the first half and she played the rest of the game between the pipes. North Bullitt used junior Taylor Heltsley in goal for the entire game.
Bullitt East left the field on Wednesday with a 4-2-1 record. After beating Bullitt Central two days earlier, the red and gold turned back Pleasure Ridge Park 4-0. Freshman Lexi Higginbotham had two goals in that game while Alex Snyder and Gentry each had one score.
For North Bullitt, the season has been one tough game after another. The green and gold opened the season with a 5-2 victory over Fort Knox, but they have not won since that time. There was the tie with Bullitt East and they also tied Male 2-2.
Maddock’s first time moved to 1-7-2 this past weekend as they lost three straight games in the West Jessamine Colt Classic, one of the top in-season tournaments in the state. The Lady Eagles lost 8-0 to top-10 power West Jessamine and then fell 9-0 to Ohio County. The third and final game was a 4-2 setback to South Laurel.
“That is what happens when you play a tough schedule,” Maddock pointed out. “It forces you to play your best. If you don’t play your best you are going to lose.”