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Fresh off a third place finish in the Little Caesars' Classic at Boyle County, the Anderson County girls' soccer team will find what it is made over the next week.
The Lady Bearcats travel to regional rival Henry Clay tonight, Wednesday, Sept. 23, then take on Ohio County, a top 10 team, in the Elizabethtown Showcase Saturday. “We will really have the chance to see if playing this harder schedule has paid off,” Anderson coach Jason Earnest said. “Next week, we play Lexington Christian and Lexington Catholic, so a very good two weeks to see if we are ready for the post-season. I am excited.”
While Tates Creek made sure that Anderson was not able to defend its Little Caesar's title, defeating the Lady Bearcats in the semi-finals, 3-1, Earnest said his team put together five halves of outstanding play in the tournament.
After Tates Creek had held the Lady Bearcats to one goal last Wednesday, Earnest spent the next two days of practice working on shot selection and finishing opportunities.
It paid off in a 7-1 romp past a young Shelby County team in the consolation game. “We took about 20 shots and scored seven. Against Tates Creek, we took about 40 shots, many not even close to being on goal, and scored one.”
Earnest said the Lady Bearcats jumped on a young Shelby team early, then the Lady Rockets hung their heads a bit. “We were able to open things up on them. If Shelby County doesn't have to split up their team when they get two schools next year, they will be very good next year and the year after.”
Taylor Clark and Madison Carter both scored twice for the Lady Bearcats and Carter was credited with two assists.
“Our defense was very good, as we played Tori Yeaste as our center back and she played it very effectively,” Earnest said. “I am proud of the job she did along with Abby Prater, Andrea Melanson and Taylor Clark.”
Last Wednesday, Anderson could not score against Tates Creek, the eventual tournament champion, even though the Lady Bearcats took almost four times as many shots. “Their shots were definitely a lot better quality than yours but we missed a couple of wide open chances, too,” Earnest said.
Tates Creek scored first on a penalty kick, then made it 2-0 by halftime when the Commodores beat the Anderson defense for another score. “At the time, we had taken seven shots to their three,” Earnest said, “but the score was 2-0 them.”
Anderson, had chosen to have the wind at its back in the second half, used that advantage to put together what Earnest called “our best half of soccer ever, well, except for the fact that we didn't put in the back of the net more than once.”
Earnest said his team took about 30 shots in the second half alone. While some were too far out to really be a threat, he said, “We had 10 or 15 chances that were very dangerous, inside 10 to 15 yards. Some even closer. We just couldn't seem to have any luck as we did everything but score.”
Anderson finally got within 2-1 when Carter finished a give-and-go with Clark.
“We really looked great on our possession and creativity. I was extremely pleased with how hard we played and our determination,” Earnest said. “We never quit and we believed we were going to win. If we keep playing with that kind of passion, its going to be a great end of year for us. I am looking forward to it.
“Hopefully, we will continue to move the ball around and play like we have the last five halves,” Earnest said.
E-mail John Herndon at email@example.com.