By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
CORBIN—Just a couple of mistakes were enough to allow Oneida Baptist to pull out a 2-1 win over North Laurel in the first round of the 13th Region Tournament. Derryn Tagune’s goal with 18:52 remaining on a corner kick would send the Mountaineers on to the championship game and send the Jaguars home.
“I was talking to my coaches on the side and I said I fear whichever team makes a mistake the other team is going to win the game. We made the mistake on the corner kick. We didn’t do anything to box him out and take possession of the ball,” North Laurel coach Mark Acampa said.
The Jaguars were hoping for a rematch with Corbin in the 13th Region championship game. They were also hoping to flip the script from last season when North Laurel won the district and Corbin won the region. This year it was Corbin with a 6-3 win in the district title game. After outscoring Corbin 2-1 in the second half of that game, the Jaguars felt they had a chance for a region title.
“I think we did and that’s what pains me more than anything,” Acampa said.
Oneida Baptist made sure that rematch wouldn’t happen. The Mountaineers controlled the early stages of the game, but were not able to find a way around keeper Nick Herrmann.
“I think Nick had a great season. A lot of the goals scored against him were those types were just one-on-ones and it is hard. Still he has stopped more of those one-on-one goals than got by him,” Acampa said.
Although Oneida Baptist had controlled the ball early, it was North Laurel that scored first. With 17:31 in the first half, Keaton Kennedy scored on a free kick from just across midfield.
It looked like the Jaguars would take that lead into halftime, but a short lapse with 2:30 remaining allowed Oneida Baptist to tie the game.
“There are 80 minutes in the game and you have to play at the top of your game for 80 minutes. When you let your guard down that’s really all it takes. That’s what it was in each half,” Acampa said.
It was Itune Lawani that was able to dribble through the defense and win a one on one with Herrmann to tie the game.
“The defense did step up a few times, but it was again allowing people to get past us and go one on one with the keeper,” Acampa said. “I have played keeper in the past and there is no joy in seeing one person come at you with the ball on his foot.”
The Jaguars would get many more chances in the second half, but never found the goal again. Another short lapse by the defense would cost them. Tagune flicked in the follow shot off of a corner kick when no one cleared the ball.
“That’s pretty much been the tale of our season. We play great and we play bad and you lose on a play like that. It’s kind of tough,” Acampa said.
It was the final game for six North Laurel seniors. There is a strong junior class returning, including Herrmann at keeper and leading scorer Kennedy.
“OBI played a great game so hats off to them. I don’t want to take anything away from them. It was a good game on both sides of the ball,” Acampa said. “The hope is we learn from it and they grow and we start to build for next season.”