By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
The loss in last year’s region finals to Letcher County Central didn’t sit too well with South Laurel Lady Cardinals coach Todd White, especially since his team let a 3-0 lead slip away in an eventual 5-3 loss.
“I told the girls we were going to win district and then region this year,” White said after his team’s 6-0 thrashing of Corbin Thursday night in the 13th Region girls’ finals. “This is where our season ended last year. Now we are going to get ready for Letcher County Central Monday.” The Lady Cards will host the Lady Cougars in the first round of the state soccer tournament.
But first things first. South had to take care of Corbin, and a four-goal second half did just that. But possibly the biggest goal came 15 seconds into the second half.
With South leading 2-0, the ball found its way in front of the Lady Redhound goal. Corbin keeper Meghann Blackburn and a Corbin defender were both on the ball, but so was South’s Haley House. As the defender failed to clear the ball, House touched it past Blackburn to make it 3-0.
“That goal, and the first goal of the game, were very important,” White said. “I told the girls whoever scores first will have control of the game.”
“Whoever” would be South Laurel, specifically Karli Parker, in the 26th minute.
“It’s so nice to have a skilled player like Karli on the team,” White said. “She plays high-level club soccer and helps our team tremendously.”
Less than a minute later, it would by Mariah House’s turn, as she sent a beautiful shot from around 30 yards out that beat Blackburn for a 2-0 lead. House had hit the underside of the crossbar in the 6th minute that bounced out to deny her a goal.
From there out the Lady Cards continued to dominate possession, though Corbin did have a couple of good chances late in the half. In the 29th minute, Amerah Dixon’s shot deflected out for a corner kick. Then in the 34th minute, her shot hit the near post and rolled safely over the end line.
The second half was all South Laurel. After House scored in the 41st minute, Logan Joyce was tripped in the box for a penalty kick in the 67th minute. Sarah DeCarlo converted from the spot, as she did in the 74th minute. In between those goals, Joyce scored on a pretty shot from 25 yards out as South rolled, 6-0.
When South wasn’t scoring, its defense stood firm, keeping the Lady Redhounds off the scoreboard.
“I’m so proud of our keeper, Charity Humfleet,” White said. “She has come a long way. And the rest of our defense stepped up. Seniors Sarah (DeCarlo) and Mariah (House) both played excellent. They keep things together for our team.”
White also noted that this win was a well earned decision.
“I always read where (Corbin) Coach Steely said that it was usually some kind of mistake and that’s why we won,” White said. “I didn’t see any mistakes out there tonight. Our girls played with possession.”
South Laurel’s Karli Parker, Mariah House, Haley House, Kristen White and Charity Humfleet were named to the All-Region Team. Corbin’s Amerah Dixon was named the tournament offensive MVP, while Sarah DeCarlo was named the defensive MVP.
The Lady Cards (14-6-1) will host Letcher County Central tonight at 7 p.m. The Lady Cougars come into the game with a 12-3-1 record, having beaten Estill County, 2-1, in the 14th Region finals. The two teams had only one common opponent this season in Corbin. The Lady Redhounds beat LCC, 7-1, on August 25.
Should South win tonight, it will then travel to Lafayette Saturday to face the winner of the 9th Region vs. 10th Region match. The 9th Region finals were held Saturday between No. 1 Notre Dame (21-2-1) and No. 20 Newport Central Catholic (14-5-1). The 10th Region finals were also Saturday as Campbell County (14-8-2) took on No. 22 Bishop Brossart (17-5-1).