Hayden, Randolph lead Lady Aces past Apollo in first round of 9th District Tournament

October 4, 2022 | 12:05 am

Updated October 4, 2022 | 1:08 am

Photo by Gage Johnson

First-year soccer player Aubrey Randolph and senior Maddie Hayden caused chaos for Owensboro Catholic on Monday, combining for five goals in a 7-0 win over the E-gals to secure a spot in the 9th District Championship.

The Lady Aces wasted no time getting on the board, winning the ball in the midfield right away and allowing Randolph to take it all the way and tap it in. Maddie Hayden got a few chances that shortly after that were saved by Apollo keeper junior Ashton Leigh, but in the 27th minute Maddie broke through on a nice through ball from senIor Katie Riney to make it 2-0.

Maddie found the back of the net again in the 31st minute, taking a touch to her right before firing one near the top of the box and sinking it to make it 3-0 going into halftime.

Maddie picked up right where she left off shortly into the second half, earning the hat trick to make it 4-0. Randolph then got her second goal of the game, followed by one from junior Ginny Young to take a 6-0 lead into the 61st minute.

The Lady Aces got one more goal to close out the game, as Riney found the back of the net in the 74th minute to make it 7-0 and secure their spot in the 9th District Championship.

Maddie Hayden had her hands all over the win, securing the hat trick while dishing out a team-leading in four assists. Hines was happy to see her find the back of the net multiple times, hoping that this will help her out of a recent funk.

“I think her [big] games are against the district opponents,” Hines said. “She’s been in a struggle, so it was good for her to come out and get a couple goals. She hasn’t scored since I think Ohio County.”

Hayden and Hines also tipped their cap to Randolph, who is proving to be a crucial player for Owensboro Catholic with her rambunctious energy on the pitch. Having only picked up soccer about three months ago, the Lady Aces couldn’t ask for more.

“She’s fantastic,” Hines said. “I think if everybody played as hard-nosed as Aubrey we’d be really really good. She’s only played soccer for three months and she gets better each and every game. I think it’s her No. 1 sport now.”

Hayden said her abilities athletically have really opened up things for her and other players, noting that she’s become a pretty good soccer player in her first year of her high school career.

“She’s a basketball player and she’s come out and done awesome,” Hayden said. “She’s our striker now, so she’s done a really good job of holding the ball and then playing it back and making it able to get through. Then also her speed helps her kill it in getting the ball.”

Senior Rachel Traylor also helped orchestrate the offense as well by tallying three assists, while junior keeper Abby Payne earned her 11th shutout of the season. Owensboro Catholic secured its spot in the 3rd Region Tournament and in the 9th District Championship with the win, with the latter coming against Daviess County on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Apollo’s football stadium.

Meanwhile, Apollo has its season come to a close with the E-gals sitting at 5-12-1 overall following the loss. Despite the end result, Head Coach Zach Akin was proud of the fight they showed on Tuesday night.

“The prestige that Catholic has and the quality of players that they have, it was always gonna be a tough game,” Akin said. “But I think we came in with the right mindset. We had a gameplan and tried to play through it, but when you try and defend for too long in soccer it’s a game of averages. Eventually something is going to crack.”

While they might not have had a winning season, the E-gals soccer program has taken a significant step forward in 2022. Akin said that in their regular season finale they were able to amass 317 passes, a sign of something that can help them solidify their identity going forward.

“I think that is a stat that really puts together how we want to play going forward,” Akin said. “I think that just shows the hard work that the girls put in all year and eventually like I said it’s another stepping stone going into next year for us.”

Apollo will lose four seniors following the season’s close and Akin and company are said to see them go. However, Akin said he thoroughly enjoyed his time with this group and went on to say that they were prime examples of leaders to help turn the program in the right direction this year.

“They are some of the funniest human beings I’ve ever met in my life,” Akin said. “I’ve only known most of them for a year, year and a half now, but it’s really been a pleasure to see them come together as leaders… They’ve really come together and helped this team build that way that we did build this year. Not only are they some of the funniest players, but also some of our most hard-working… I think that just shows what they were made of.”

As for continuing to build the program, Akin said that those returning will have to step up and be strong mentally in order to set the tone of a winning culture going forward.

“I think the biggest thing is trying to build that togetherness again,” Akin said. “I think a lot of the girls over the past have kind of just came in and it’s been ‘oh it’s soccer, it is what it is.’ I think now it’s coming in and knowing that if we come in and play the right way regardless of the results, we can be proud of that.”

October 4, 2022 | 12:05 am

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