It was a slow start for the Owensboro Catholic girls soccer team, but they were able to earn a 5-0 shutout at Apollo to open District 9 Tournament play Tuesday. The Lady Aces advanced to the championship against Daviess County.
The E-Gals (6-12-1) came out strong in the first half, but couldn’t capitalize on a handful of scoring opportunities in their final game of the year. The Lady Aces (11-5-1) made some halftime adjustments and were able to control the final 40 minutes.
Apollo head coach Mason Head said he thought they outplayed their opponent in the first half, but said it doesn’t matter if the score doesn’t tell the same story. He’s still happy with the performance.
“I thought we were the better team in the first half,” Head said. “I thought we had more quality chances, but there’s only one stat that anybody cares about, and that’s the scoreboard. In that regard, they outplayed us in the first half. I like the chances we created and the opportunities we had. We just couldn’t finish.”
Owensboro Catholic, on the other hand, was able to convert on their attacks. The first goal came only six minutes in when Izzy Stanfield poked in a shot off a corner kick. Six minutes later, Emma Eyre lofted a pass from midfield to Lily Moore. Moore took a couple dribbles past a defender to get to the left side of the box, where he crossed a shot into the right side of the net.
The E-Gals then pressed heavy for the remainder of the half but couldn’t get a goal, and the Lady Aces added a score with 38 seconds to play before the break. Ashton Logsdon tapped a pass to Kaylee Morris, who was able to find the net from the middle of the box.
Despite the 3-0 lead, Owensboro Catholic head coach Kelli Brannock said the Lady Aces came out sluggish, and admitted Apollo put up a good fight.
“I was a little frustrated in our speed of play,” Brannock said. “Mentally, they thought we were in it, but I felt we were a little slow, and now is not the time to be doing that. Apollo came out aggressive with a positive attitude. I give them a lot of credit.”
Some adjustments during halftime shifted possession back to OCHS, and they were able to finish out the game without giving up a goal.
“Our movement off the ball in the second half was better,” Brannock said. “We were more active. We controlled. We were able to work it out around the back.”
Logsdon got a pair of scores in the first 12 minutes of the second period — one just in front of the net on a pass from Moore, and the other off a putback on a missed shot by Morris — and the remainder of the game went without a goal.
Head said the E-Gals weren’t able to play they way they wanted to after going down 3-0.
“In the second half, we had to deviate from our gameplan to try to close the deficit,” he said. “They put a quick one in and we were behind the 8 ball.”
The loss sends Apollo into the postseason, but Head said he told his players to try to look at the bigger picture.
“At the end of the day, it’s just a game,” he said. “Everyone wants to win the state championship, and everyone wants to go to region. In our practices, we build character and relationships that will last a lifetime. I told them ‘yes it stinks that we lost the game, but keep in mind the things you’ve learned that will help you in life.’ ”
The Lady Aces will advance to the championship match against Daviess County, who beat Owensboro 7-0 in the other semifinal. Both team automatically advance to the Region 3 tournament next week.
The teams have met twice this season, with OCHS winning 2-1 in a penalty kick shootout both times. Last season, the Lady Aces won both regular season matches, but the Lady Panthers beat them in both the district and region tournament championships.
Brannock is glad to get a win and move on to region, but she isn’t looking past Daviess County.
“Overall I was happy with the outcome,” she said. “It guarantees us playing next week, which is a positive. Thursday is a great opportunity to come out and play another solid game. We use that to continue to get ready for region. We’re going to come out hard and go at it.”