Head coach Andy Hines said it’s ultimately disappointing that they won’t have another game in 2020, but he and the Owensboro Catholic girls’ soccer team could hold their heads high and have high hopes for the future.
The Lady Aces made a surprise run to the quarterfinals of the state tournament before running into defending state champion Greenwood on Monday night. The Lady Gators netted three goals in the first 10 minutes then played even the rest of the way, their 3-0 win ended Owensboro Catholic’s season.
Considering they dug into an early hole, Hines was relatively pleased with the final 70 minutes of play, even though they won’t get to move on.
“At the end of the day, you know, it’s disappointing,” said Hines, who wraps up his first year at the helm of the Lady Aces. “We worked extremely hard in that second half. I think that shows where we’re heading.”
The first goal came less than two minutes in when Kayelee Maners stole a pass deep in Catholic territory and turned it into an easy goal. A hand ball against the Lady Aces about one yard outside the top of the box set up a direct kick for Greenwood, and Maggie Blair converted on a curving shot into the net.
The final score came with 30:18 on the clock, when a cross rolled through the Catholic defense and into the box, where Maners had another easy chip shot for her second goal.
“I think the first goal our girls thought it was going to be an offsides call, but I think was deflection that kept them on sides,” Hines said. We kind of fell apart in that 10 minutes and gave up three.”
At halftime, Hines reminded them of how far they’d come, knocking off a pair of perennial powerhouses in Daviess County and Marshall County in their last two outings.
“We talked about how nobody thought we were going to get here,” he said. “We said we’re going to come out and play hard this second half and win everything. … I’d rather have a team that fights and digs. I felt like we showed some character tonight.”
Catholic sophomore Maddie Hayden, who led the team with 17 goals and was second with eight assists this season, was named to the 2020 KHSAA All-State Tournament Soccer Team.
She didn’t find the net Monday, but she pushed hard and got a couple of opportunities against a stout Greenwood back line.
“Seeing Maddie stepping up tonight, it was like another level of Maddie that I didn’t know she had,” Hines said.
Hayden is hopeful that this year’s relatively youthful Catholic squad gained some valuable experience. After winning seven of their last eight games, and with both a 9th District and 3rd Region championship in tow, there’s good reason to believe it.
“It’s crazy how far we’ve come this year,” she said. “No one thought we would get this far and we did. It’s because we worked together as a team and we put all the pieces together and we made it happen. I’m going to remember our seniors and what they have done for this team to help us. Keep our heads up and get ready for next year.”