Lady Bearcats hope third time more than a charm

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Anderson soccer wins Bluegrass gold, looks for big season

By John Herndon

Anderson County girls' soccer hopes that a gold medal from the Bluegrass State Games is more than just a charm in 2010.

The Lady Bearcats stunned highly-regarded South Oldham, 2-1, in the gold medal game played Sunday in Versailles. The victory gave Anderson the summer tournament's top prize for the third straight season.

 “I really hope we can build off these quality scrimmage games going into our season,” Anderson coach Jason Earnest said. “We are looking forward to it and our goal is a region championship. Our region is loaded with fantastic teams, several in the Top 5 to 20 range. It should be a great year!”

Sunday, Anderson rallied from a 1-0 deficit early to avenge a pool play loss to South Oldham. The Lady Bearcats got the game winner when Taylor Clark drove a penalty kick past the South Oldham goalie with about five minutes to play. Anderson held on for the win.

The deciding goal came after what Earnest said was a disputed handball call in the penalty box.

“Their coach and fans were pretty upset by the handball call, and I probably would have been too,” Earnest said. “However, it was the correct call as the defender unintentionally played the ball directly down to her foot, allowing the keeper to get the ball when our forward would have received the ball for a goal if the handball hadn't occurred. Unfortunately, these things happen and this time, we were the benefactors.”

The teams traded goals early in the second half to set up the memorable finish. After South Oldham broke the scoring drought, Earnest said, “We had a great combination play with terrific passing the ball inside outside to the wings, then off a cross Madison (Carter) hit a full volley touch into the back of the net. It was a very pretty goal!”

Earlier in the day, Anderson defeated Ft. Thomas Highlands in the semifinal, 2-0, as Hannah Pritchert connected from 40 yards in the first half and 20 yards in the second for the game's only scores.

“We really played fantastic for most of the game moving the ball around as well as I have seen in a long time,” Earnest said. “Emily Mager was in goal for us and came away with a huge huge save right before the half to keep us in the lead. ... Highlands had a terrific forward that got in behind our defense a few times and Mager came up with fantastic save after save.”

During Saturday's pool play, though, Anderson struggled, beating Ryle 1-0 when Pritchert connected from 40 yards out. “We really should have scored a few more goals,” Earnest said. However, our play was a little erratic and things just weren't flowing smoothly.”

South Oldham used a strong second half to whip the Lady Bearcats 3-1 in the second game. Elizabeth Mason tallied from 15 yards to give Anderson a 1-0 lead at the break, but South Oldham scored on a penalty kick, then took advantage when Anderson gave up an own goal.

However with the win over Ryle, Anderson advanced to tournament play.

The Lady Bearcats open the season on Monday, Aug. 16 against South Laurel in the Fayette County Soccer Spectacular at Henry Clay High School in Lexington.

E-mail John Herndon at jpherndon@theandersonnews.com.