By Matt Sparks For the Times-Tribune
FLATWOODS — It was a historic night at the Russell Soccer Complex.
Russell coach Joe Grizzle reached a milestone with his 200th win as the Lady Devils defeated South Laurel 3-0 in the Semi-State round of the Girls State Soccer Tournament on Tuesday night.
After the game, the jubilant coach was getting hugs from every direction by players and parents. To commemorate the event, a team picture was taken under the scoreboard showing the final score. Two minutes were put on the clock to symbolize Grizzle’s number of wins.
According to Grizzle, all the credit goes to his players.
“It can’t get any better than this,” the veteran coach said. “The girls have worked hard all year. I’m just so happy for them.”
Russell advances to the Elite Eight of the State Tournament and will play Notre Dame, champions of the 9th Region, at Lafayette High School in Lexington on Saturday.
Much of the first half was played to a stalemate with each team feeling the nerves playing on such a big stage.
“They (Russell) had some nerves,” Grizzle said. “If you’re not nervous for this game then maybe you shouldn’t be out there.”
Russell was first to seize the momentum on Cara Maher’s goal at the 30-minute mark.
The junior midfielder took control of the ball at the top of the box and weaved her way around several defenders before sending a shot on goal that proved to be too hot to handle for the keeper. The ball glanced off her hands and bounced into the net.
“It is always good to score first,” Grizzle said. “When you do that, the momentum gets pumping and it gets things going. After that goal, they came together and started playing our game.”
Russell (18-5-1) increased its lead three minutes later when Hollie Hencye outjumped a Lady Cardinal defender for a ball in front of the net. Hencye’s header found the top of the net to give the Lady Devils a 2-0 lead heading into halftime.
“Hollie has been strong all year long,” Grizzle said of his talented sophomore. “We have been telling her all this week she needs to shoot the ball more and be more active in the offense and she showed up big today.”
Hencye scored another goal in second half and admitted her long soccer career prepared her for games like last night.
“I have been playing since I was 5 so I don’t feel too nervous,” Hencye said. “Once we got going tonight, we played really hard and nobody let down.
“Cara’s goal gave us the confidence to keep working and we felt we had a chance in this game,” she added.
Russell’s defense shut down the Lady Cardinals for the rest of the game, including stopping Karli Parker, the state’s leading goal scorer.
Parker came into the game with 54 goals and 10 assists but could not find any space to operate because of Russell’s team defense led by junior Shelby Huddleston.
“She is the best defender in the state,” Grizzle said. “Shelby played man to man on her. I couldn’t ask her to do any more than what she did tonight.”
South Laurel falls, 3-0, in opening round of state tournament
By Matt Sparks For the Times-Tribune
- Local Sports
Patriots complete road to Rome with 34-27 overtime win
The University of the Cumberlands (UC) football team came into their NAIA FCS Semifinal round matchup against Carroll College looking for a first in school history.
Bell County knocks off Corbin, 83-82, in CFIT Championship
Saturday's championship game of the Cumberland Falls Invitational Tournament was perhaps a postseason preview of things to come as two of the 13th Region's top girls teams met for the first time this season at Gilliam Gymnasium.
Williamsburg’s hopes of the school’s first-ever state title were washed away quickly Friday as Mayfield scored touchdowns on its first three plays, building a 35-0 first-quarter lead.
Corbin wins, South Laurel falls in Big Red Shootout
In the first game of the Big Red Shootout at Clay County High School, the Corbin Redhounds defeated the Letcher Central Cougars 66-50. Corbin found themselves down two points at halftime, but was able to pull away for a big lead in the third quarter.
Friday night's opening game of the Cumberland Falls Invitational featured two 50th District teams, both looking for their first wins of the tournament.
The Corbin Lady Redhounds returned to action in their second round match of the Cumberland Falls Invitational Tournament. Corbin entered the contest riding off an 86-point, hard-fought scoring effort in Wednesday's victory over Harlan.
There was really no question North Laurel would make short work of young Riverside Christian. The Jaguars picked up an 82-25 win Thursday with a running clock starting late in the first half.
Lady Cards fall to Bell County, 64-40
When you sport a very young team, you can expect some growing pains early in the season. South Laurel is a very young team, but for 2 1/2 quarters they stayed right with heavily favored Bell County in the Cumberland Falls Invitational Thursday night.
On the Carpet
It's not been easy, but Jerry Herron's Williamsburg Yellow Jackets are one game away from capturing the football program's first-ever Class A state championship.
Leading the way
A little over 24 hours separates the Williamsburg Yellow Jackets from a showdown with the Mayfield Cardinals for the 2013 Class A State Championship, but it’s taken a lot longer for the program itself to reach this point.
- More Local Sports Headlines
- Patriots complete road to Rome with 34-27 overtime win