North Laurel recorded its third straight shutout and fifth straight win with a 5-0 blanking of Whitley County Tuesday.
“We’re moving people around, trying to see what is going to work in different formations,” North Laurel coach Mark Acampa said.
One of the moves Acampa tried against the Colonels was to move speedy Elijah Whitenack to the back of the defense.
“(Whitley County) played extremely well. They’ve got strong legs. They’ve got a lot of speed and they play over the top well, so we just put Elijah (Whitenack) back there as a sweeper. Once he was back there, they didn’t have many shots on goal at all,” Acampa said.
The Colonels did get some shots early, but not much after Whitenack was moved to sweeper. The Jaguars have now recorded five shutouts for the season. It was the third time the Colonels have been held without a goal, all against district teams South Laurel, Corbin, and now North Laurel.
The Jaguars first goal came in the 14th minute and started with Keaton Kennedy making a save near midfield. Kennedy worked the ball into the box and passed to Adam Napier. Napier fired two heavily contested shots before the ball bounced back to Kennedy for a tap in.
“I think against any opponent you have to go out there and get those early gains. You can say it’s to try to get the other team to drop their heads. You as a team want to score those goals to lift your heads up and stay energized,” Acampa said.
The Colonels were able to hold North Laurel from scoring again until the 28th minute with their speed forcing the Jaguars to keep the ball moving.
“Whitley was on top of you as soon as you got the ball at your feet, so you had to move fast,” Acampa said.
The second goal was the result of good ball movement that led to an open shot for Aaron Rader.
“Some teams play a little slower and don’t press as hard. Whitley is a team that because of their speed they press really well. So we learn the difference between having time to look and see who you want to pass it to and having to know where you are going before you get the ball,” Acampa said.
The Jaguars would punch in one more goal before the half. In the 35th minute, an assist from Cole Stenger set up Napier for a 3-0 lead.
Kennedy added two more goals in the second half for his third hat trick of the season. Kennedy’s second goal was all effort with Napier and Kennedy working hard in the box against the Whitley County defense. In the 54th minute, Kennedy scored on a direct kick from 25 yards out.
Acampa said he wasn’t concerned about his team being tired after a late night game 10-0 win over Middlesboro on Monday. The Middlesboro game did not start until after 8:30 p.m. due to a football game.
“Actually we are starting to build our bench now and adding players to the team. The weather is starting to turn too. It’s getting cooler so the sun isn’t sapping a lot of their energy,” Acampa said.
It was Napier leading the offense against Middlesboro with three goals. Kennedy and Mike Votolato had a pair of goals. Evan de la Pena, Ty Riley, and Caleb Schumacher also had goals for North Laurel. Three goals came on assists from Stenger
“I thought that game was played really well as far as moving the ball,” Acampa said. “We put people in different positions to see how they play together. There was a lot more passing,” Acampa said.
The Jaguars were scheduled to play Perry County Central on Saturday. They will host Hazard at 6 p.m. Tuesday.