Daviess County only allowed two shots all night, but they still needed a come-from-behind 2-1 win Tuesday to beat Meade County and advance to the Region 3 girls soccer championship.
The Lady Panthers (10-5-2) dominated possession early and peppered shots from all around the box, though it was the Lady Waves (11-5-3) who got on the board first. A breakdown in defense allowed Meade County to score on a slow dribbler the bounced in off the left post.
Daviess County head coach David Sandifer said the Lady Panthers struggled to get past a crowded back line for the Lady Waves. Combined with a lack of movement, the Lady Panthers found themselves in a 1-0 hole until midway through the second half.
“In the first part of the game, maybe the first 7-8 minutes, we moved really well,” he said. “Meade County was putting a few people back. We had several shots that were played in and cleared out by the defenders. And then we just started kind of standing around.”
The biggest halftime adjustment for Daviess County was to be more active.
“We talked about better movement off the ball in the second half,” Sandifer said. “We tried to move and connect passes, and fortunately it worked out. Meade County had a solid game plan. Their keeper played well and their defenders got in the way.”
Finally, Kenlee Newcom got the equalizer on a free kick a few yards outside the box after she was fouled. She knew it was her time to shine.
“I was like, I’ve had enough,” Newcom said. “I got up there and felt confident. I was like this had to be it. After I shot, it was like a big old boulder was taken off my shoulders.”
Newcom knew the Lady Panthers were going to break through, it was just a matter of when.
“It was bound to happen at some point,” she said. “We were shooting and shooting shooting, but nothing could fall for us. Totes to that goalkeeper. She was great. We just couldn’t get anything to fall. Finally we broke through.”
With just under five minutes to play, it was Elizabeth Collier that put the Lady Panthers ahead for good. Daviess County pressed up the field, and Collier took a pass from Chloe Hinchcliffe on the right side of the box. From there, Collier hit one on the ground to the opposite post and got it just inside the net.
“It was a team effort to get it up to the box,” she said. “I needed to beat the girl, so I took a touch pass. Once I took that, I thought I was going to hit it. It was a relief. I knew we had it. We just had to keep our defense up and not have any letdowns. “
Collier said a key to getting the win was never doubting themselves in a game that they largely controlled from start to finish.
“We never let down,” she said. “We kept our heads up and thought we could push through it if we worked together.”
The Lady Panthers advance to the championship match Thursday for a fourth meeting with Owensboro Catholic (13-6-1), who beat Ohio County 3-0 in the other semifinal. Daviess County beat the Lady Aces 6-1 in the District 9 championship, though Owensboro Catholic won both regular season matches 2-1 in shootouts.
The championship was originally scheduled to be played at Meade County, but will possibly be moved to an Owensboro location. Tournament officials will make the decision today on to location and time of the match.