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It was only a scrimmage.
It won't show up in the girls' soccer record books or count for anything other than memories.
But Anderson County will have a hard time thinking that way.
"Especially when it was them," smiles Lady Bearcat senior Jessi Newton.
"Them" happens to be South Oldham, a program that boasts six state championships since the sport was sanctioned by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.
But a little over six minutes to play in the Shelby County Soccerama on Aug. 9, Newton saw an opening, slipped through that seam, then delivered the game-winner as the Lady Bearcats defeated South Oldham 3-2.
It was just a scrimmage, but the excitement surrounding the 16th-ranked Lady Bearcats was understandable. They had already won the Bluegrass State Games competition - beating 17th-ranked North Oldham in the final - but even though it amounted to a practice game, Anderson defeated one of the state's elite much more soundly than the final score would indicate.
The Shelby scoreboard operator had Anderson holding a 21-11 advantage in shots on goal while the Anderson stat sheet had it 18-9. Either way, it underscored Lady Bearcat coach Jason Earnest's belief that "we were the best team on the field that day."
It really has been a long journey for the Lady Bearcats. "The first time we ever played South Oldham, they beat us 9-0 and that was a nice 9-0," Earnest said of his former regional foe. "The closest we had ever come to them was 5-1."
The result at Shelby was what Earnest and the Lady Bearcats are hoping for in 2008. "Our schedule is tough but I think we have the capability to win every game we play. That doesn't mean we will win them all, but we feel we can compete with any team on our schedule."
The Lady Bearcats should be good.
Make that very good.
While there is no superstar in the mold of April Carbajal, the 2003 Miss Soccer, there is a wealth of talent. So much so that Earnest says that he has the most weapons at his disposal in his 10-year career as Lady Cat coach. "We are really strong (at players) one through 15," he says.
The Lady Bearcats have offense coming from Kara Yeaste, the team's only junior, sophomore Madison Carter and Newton.
Yeaste, an attacking mid-fielder in the mold of Sydney Beasley, Anderson's all-stater from two years ago, just finds ways to score. The crafty Newton, a four-year starter, showed her specialty in scoring the game-winner against South Oldham.
Carter gives the Lady Bearcats a scorer whose speed is "in another dimension," according to Earnest. "So far no one has matched her for speed."
Talented freshman forward Taylor Clark will also be in the mix of the offense. "She is going to be special," Earnest says. "I think she was born to play soccer."
Clark's older sister, Paige, and Megan Melanson, both seniors, are smooth and speedy defenders while classmate Ashley Mattingly plays the role of physical enforcer, a role she relishes. "She's not afraid of mixing it up out there," Earnest smiles.
Sophomores Hannah Pritchert, Abby Prater and Elizabeth Mason are also talented players. Mason showed the kind of attitude that makes Earnest believe 2008 will be a special year for Anderson soccer.
"Elizabeth has always been a good player but she kind of plateaued," Earnest said. "I took her out of the lineup at camp and she came to me and asked me what she could do to get better."
"I have never had a player respond so quickly," Earnest says.
Mason was back in the lineup as the season started Monday night.
Freshmen Emily Mager and Allison Parent will also see plenty of playing time.
Sophomore goalie Rebecca Radcliffe continues to improve and should be a steady presence in the net. "She is very solid," Earnest says. "She is extremely smart and has strong hands. She works harder than any (goalie) I have ever coached."
Those attitudes that Mason and Radcliffe demonstrate are those that Melanson says have grown.
"It just seems like the whole team has melded together," she said.
But Earnest says the Lady Bearcats are so deep and talented that his biggest job might be in spreading enough playing time.
The Lady Bearcats are driven by consecutive losses to Sayre in the regional tournament. Two years ago, Sayre rallied from a three-goal deficit with 22 minutes to play. The Spartans scored one goal on a questionable penalty kick, then won in overtime.
A year ago, Sayre ousted the Lady Bearcats again.
The Lady Bearcats are driven by those disappointments but also by the simple fact of seeing their name listed among the state's best. "That makes you want to get better," Melanson says of the lofty ranking.
"I like it," Earnest says with a smile, "but I think we are better than that. We will see."
The Lady Bearcats will miss five departed seniors and Earnest admits, "We are young."
But he also says, "These kids are aware that they are a really good team."
It's what beating some of the state's best will do for a program.
Even if it was just a scrimmage.