By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
SOUTH LAUREL — The South Laurel Lady Cardinals captured their sixth regional championship in six years in fine fashion by defeating rival Corbin Thursday, 6-0.
The game was scoreless during the first 25 minutes, but the Lady Cardinals took charge after a goal at the 14:58 minute mark by Karlie Parker. Teammate Mariah House scored from 30-yards 47 seconds later and Corbin coach Eric Steely’s worst fears came true.
“We had the same issue as we have had before against them,” he said. “We played well against them and then they scored and took control of the game. I tip my hat to them. They came out and played hard and played very well and they deserved to win.”
Even though the Lady Cardinals (14-6-1) scored two goals in a 47-second span, Corbin (15-5-2) only trailed 2-0 at halftime.
But a goal by Haley House 15 seconds into the second half broke the game open.
“I thought the first goal and the third goal was huge for them,” Steely said. “The third one hurt. The girls got down after they scored the first goal and they got down when they scored the second goal and even though we were down 2-0, it’s manageable.
“I thought the girls seemed pretty motivated at halftime, but when they came out and scored that third goal — that hurt.”
South Laurel coach Todd White agreed that Parker’s goal in the first half and Haley House’s goal out of the gate in the second half was big for his Lady Cardinal squad.
“I think so,” he said. “I told the girls coming into the game whoever scored first would have all of the momentum and of course anytime you have the lead at halftime, I always tell my girls the first 10 to 12 minutes of the second half the other team is going to take their best shot.
“I told the girls if we go out and match their intensity and we can score the first goal of the second half, we’re going to have all of the momentum,” White added. “That’s basically what I thought we did.”
The Lady Cardinals added on to their lead during the final 14 minutes of the contest, as Sarah Decarlo scored on two penalty kicks and Logan Joyce scored from 20-yards out.
“It’s nice to win the region,” White said. “This is where our season ended last year. I told the girls if we focused all year long, we would be district champions and then we’re going to take care of business in the first round of the Sweet Sixteen.”
The win advances South Laurel to a Sweet Sixteen match-up with Letcher Central Monday at South Laurel.
“I’m just really, really proud of the girls,” White said. “We went out and executed our game plan.”
The Lady Cougars eliminated the Lady Cardinals last season in the 16th Region championship game.
By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
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