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Jason Earnest might have taken something from John Calipari's playbook Monday night.
Seeing his Anderson County girls' soccer team deadlocked in a scoreless tie with Shelby County early in the second half of the 30th District Tournament semifinal, Earest simply called “Kentucky.”
Grace Casciola delivered a perfect corner kick to Madeline Wilson, who drove the ball home with 35:15 to play.
It would be all the host Lady Bearcats would need to keep their season alive, but they added a late goal from Joy Andrade to oust Shelby, 2-0.
Anderson moves on to defende its district championship against Spencer County at 7 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, Oct. 16.
“We just added that play a few practices ago,” Earnest said of the play named for his home state. “We added four or five little plays that we can do. One of them is Kentucky.
“That was the first time I had called it all game. After we scored off it, I was thinking, 'This is great.'”
Wilson took Casciola's pass and sent a missile past Shelby goalie Cara Armstrong, who really had no chance on the shot. “Madeline hit it hard and low. It was perfect,” Earnest said. “We should have been up about four goals by that time. You never know when it is going to happen, but Madeline hit a perfect shot for our first goal.”
“Kentucky” put the Lady Bearcats up after they had struggled to score for 45 minutes. While Anderson had dominated play, the Lady Bearcats had nothing to show for it and frustration had obviously begun to show.
“Basically, that has happened to us a lot this year,” Earnest said. “We had a lot of possession, a lot of opportunities but we don't have a confident scorer. That carries over. The longer you go and you are dominating, but can't score, the other team starts believing, 'Hey, we can play with them.'”
Anderson had controlled most of the first half, but had not found the net. Casciola just missed in the 25th minute, then two minutes into the second half, the sophomore got free on a breakaway but could not finish after Armstrong came out and challenged Casciola, causing a collision.
Three minutes later, Anderson finally broke the deadlock.
“There was no particular reason we call it 'Kentucky,'” Earnest said. “I just wanted something that was clear cut and not confusing. That's my favorite team and it was a clear way to call it.”
Andrade sealed the win when she lofted a rebound away from Armstrong with 3:33 to play. “She hit it perfect,” Earnest said. “The keeper had no chance.
“Joy is a senior and was wanting to go in. I said, 'Joy, it is your turn to finish.' After she got in, it was about 10 seconds before she scored.”
Anderson, now 6-12-2 on the year, will try to avenge a 4-3 loss to Spencer back on Aug. 28. Shelby closed out the year at 7-12-3.
“Spencer has three really good players that dominate the middle of the field and they are very fast,” Earnest said.
**Anderson could be without junior Claire Prater, who left Monday's game in the first half with a possible upper arm or shoulder injury. Her status had not been determined at press time.
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