By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
When Karli Parker scored her fourth goal of the night, it looked like she had sealed the win for South Laurel. The Lady Cardinals were leading George Rogers Clark 4-1 with just 18:56 to play.
“The humidity tonight played a big factor in our energy. With 10 minutes left I started subbing and we let them right back in it. I had to go back to my starters right away,” South Laurel coach Todd White said.
Two quick goals from Clark had the lead down to 4-3 with 4:30 to play.
“Once we got the starters back in, I knew we were going to take Clark County’s best shot. I knew they were going to press forward with whatever they had in their gas tank,” White said.
Clark still got three shots at tying the game, including one that bounced off the post. White said there were two main factors that allowed the rally.
“Our biggest deficiency is our short bench. Also our fitness is not what it needs to be with this short of a bench,” White said. “When you get tired everything goes haywire.”
A very competitive first half ended with a 1-1 tie. Parker got the scoring started with 16:37 in the half. She took a good lead pass and then whipped the keeper. Parker was getting a lot of attention from the defense, which would lead to White making a strategic move. Instead of running Parker down the middle of the field, they started to work her on the left wing. The Clark County defense wasn’t able to concentrate on her quite as much.
“One thing Clark County had was size. They are definitely bigger, strong girls than we had out there and they were being very physical with us,” White said.
Clark’s Brooke Abner tied the score with four minutes in the half on a long shot that just eluded the keeper’s reach. Even then White thought fatigue was a factor for his defense.
“We had people in the right position, but they just didn’t step into the ball. They were four or five steps from being in her face and just laid back and let her take the shot,” White said.
In the second half, switching Parker’s position started to pay off. First she made a perfect crossing pass that led to a hand ball. Parker scored on the direct kick for a 2-1 lead.
With 21:52 to play, Parker scored on an assist from Shelby Davis, moments after having a goal waved off on an indirect kick.
With 18:56 remaining, Parker followed her own shot for a fourth goal and a 4-1 lead.
“It needs to be spread out, but it’s nice to have her when you need her in a game like this,” White said.
Then Parker and other starters got some rest, but they wouldn’t rest for long. Felicia Pasley scored with six minutes remaining. Courtney White scored 1:30 later to make it a one-goal game.
“We like playing central Kentucky teams because it is always good competition and makes us better as a team, but this is really not a sharp game for us. We have played a lot better this year against just as good an opponent,” White said. “It’s good when you kind of play bad and still beat a decent team. That’s a positive thing for us.”
The Lady Cards will host Boone County Saturday.