It was the closest contest the teams had this season, but the Daviess County boys soccer team still handily beat Owensboro Catholic 5-1 Monday to open the District 9 Tournament.
The Panthers (17-2-1) advanced to the championship, where they’ll compete for their fifth consecutive District 9 title. The loss ends the season for Owensboro Catholic (7-11).
Daviess County attacked early and often, but head coach Doug Sandifer said his team didn’t play to the best of their ability.
“I knew we’d have the bulk of the possession,” he said. “I wasn’t too pleased with our activity off the ball in the first half. We weren’t vocal at all with each other, and weren’t communicating well. We punched a few in there in the first half and got a comfortable lead. We’re capable of playing better, and I hope we can moving forward.”
The first goal came from Jacob Boling in the middle of the box 17 minutes in, and Max Miller doubled the lead only three minutes later. One more goal late in the half by Declan Armistead gave the Panthers a 3-0 lead at the break.
It wasn’t too bad of a deficit considering the constant pressure by DCHS, and Aces’ head coach Andy Donohoe said his team had to come out strong if they wanted to compete.
“We came out with the idea to be brave and courageous against them,” he said. “We couldn’t sit in a defend against them because they’re too good. I thought we ran with them a little bit at times.”
The Panthers added back-to-back goals midway through the second half when Hunter Clark punched in a deflected shot and Declan Sandifer converted the final score for DCHS.
The Aces’ lone goal came from Caleb Ranallo, who sent a ball into the box from near midfield. The ball sailed over everyone and clanged off the left post into the back of the net. Despite taking a loss, Donohoe said he came away from the match pleased.
“There’s a lot we can take from that performance as positive and learning moments,” he said. “I think a lot of people probably wrote us off before the first ball was even kicked. I think we showed that we’re maybe a little closer than people anticipated.”
Daviess County will now take on Owensboro, who beat Apollo 1-0 in overtime in the other semifinal, in the District 9 championship Wednesday. Both teams automatically advance to the Region 3 Tournament next week at Apollo.
Sandifer said the Panthers need to have a better showing in their next match.
“I’d like to see us play with a little more fire, a little more intensity, a little more pep in our step,” he said. “It wasn’t there tonight. Our first goal every year for the postseason is to win the district. They’ve worked hard, and that should be something they want to achieve.”