Playing without two of their top scorers Thursday against Breckinridge County, the Lady Cougar soccer team still had enough firepower to down the visiting Lady Tigers 5-0 at the Cougar Soccer Field.
Head coach Rusty Ray had found himself in a difficult situation last week when injuries forced him to cancel a scheduled game at Franklin-Simpson. Junior forward Keisha Dennis was injured in the last scrimmage game of the preseason and it was later determined she had torn her ACL and would be lost for the season.
Several players were out with concussions or concussion-like symptoms and junior Kayden Sutherland, the team’s leading scorer last season, injured an ankle in a 10-0 win at Bullitt Central on Wednesday and did not play against Breck.
But the addition of junior exchange student Kari Green has been a godsend for Ray and she continued her fine play against Breck with three goals. Seniors Destiny Heady and Bailey Decker added single goals in the Lady Cougar win. Through the first eight games, Green has scored 26 goals and is among the leaders in the state in scoring.
Breck has been playing soccer for only three seasons now, but they have given the Lady Cougars all they could handle when they play. They continued to play tough defense at the beginning of this game, though Grayson County missed a couple of good chances early in the first half.
Their first chance came just seconds into the game when senior Destiny Heady took the opening kick straight down the middle of the field and had a good opportunity at a goal, but shot it just wide.
Senior Breck goalie Abby McCellon always plays tough against Grayson County and she had some sparkling saves in the early going, stopping a hard shot by Green and another by first-year freshman Kandler Lindsey in the 14th minute of play.
But in the 20th minutey, Green broke through Breck’s defense and put a shot on goal that beat McCellon to put the Lady Cougars on top 1-0.
Three minutes later, Green sent a pass across from the right side to senior Destiny Heady, who maneuvered past a pair of Breck defenders and put the ball past a diving McCellon to make it 2-0.
Breck had its best opportunity to score in the 34th minute when sophomore Kara Wall got behind the Lady Cougar defense and brought the ball in all alone on Cougar goalie Laura Vincent. But Wall’s shot was not on frame and it skittered just wide right. A minute later, Green scored again to make it 3-0.
With just seconds remaining, Green took the ball away from a Breck defender near the back line, dribbled toward the goal and shot a rocket from a very shallow angle that somehow found the net to make it 4-0 at the half.
Though they continued to put pressure on the Lady Tiger goal early in the second half, the Lady Cougars were unable to get another ball past McCellon, who made some nice saves on balls headed for the net.
But in the 61st minute, the Lady Cougars were pressuring the goal again when a defender cleared the ball out of the 8-yard box. The ball shot out just beyond the penalty area right to senior Bailey Decker. Without hesitating, Decker sent an arching shot at the goal which just eluded McCellon’s outstretched hands and settled into the back of the net for the final goal of the evening.
The Lady Cougars are scheduled to host McLean County on Monday beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Reach Don Brown at 259-9622, ext. 2016.