• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

WCHS boys’ soccer fall to W. Hills on penalty kicks

MACLAIN EVANS takes aim at the goal on this free kick during the Woodford County High School boys’ soccer game against district opponent Western Hills at Sower Field in Frankfort on Thursday, Sept. 8. Maclain did not make this shot, but in the second half he scored a goal off a free kick to give Woodford a 3-1 lead. However, Western Hills came from behind and won the game 4-3 on penalty kicks. (Photo by Rick Capone)

The Woodford County High School boys’ soccer team suffered a tough loss to district-rival Western Hills on Thursday, Sept. 8, on Sower Field in Capitol View Park in Frankfort. After Woodford led through most of the game, Western Hills came back and scored two goals to tie things up at 3-3 and send the game into overtime. When the game remained tied after overtime, it came down to penalty kicks, and the Wolverines came out on top to win the game 4-3. “It was by far our worst performance of the season despite the fact we scored three goals,” said Woodford head coach Fonyam Atanga. “It was very disappointing to me how little energy we had the whole game. We were outhustled and outmuscled and generally showed a lack of desire that’s unlike what we’ve been known to do since the regular season started. “We went down 0-1 and fought very hard to come back and take a two-goal lead in the second half at 3-1. Unfortunately, we almost forgot that hard work got us to that point and again started giving Western Hills more room to control the game. We had more opportunities to put the game away, but we didn’t and they got two more goals to tie the game up and send it to a shootout.” With the loss, Woodford is now 6-2-2 overall, 4-1-2 in the region and 1-1 in the district. As Atanga noted, Woodford came out in this game flat and allowed Western Hills to run up and down the field, almost at will. That lackluster play resulted in the Wolverines getting on the scoreboard first at 27:28, when a player got the ball in front of the Yellow Jackets’ net and he booted it in for the score.

TREVOR WHITE, No. 5, closest to the goal post, came out on top on this scramble for the ball, as he put the ball into the net for a score to tie the game at 1-1 in the first half of Woodford’s road game against Western Hills on Thursday, Sept. 8. (Photo by Rick Capone)

That goal, along with Atanga’s commands from the sidelines, seemed to wake up the Yellow Jackets, and they began to tighten up their defense and started creating attacks against the Western Hills goal. At 8:22, Woodford placed a corner kick in front of the net. There, a number of players from both teams converged, but in the end, Trevor White put the ball past the goalkeeper to tie the game 1-1. “Off a corner, the ball travelled through a few people and he showed more desire to attack the ball than anyone else,” said Atanga as he explained the goal. Just a few minutes later with five minutes left in the first half, Avery Whisman got the ball from teammate Glen Fister, and ran it down the right side of the field towards the Western Hills net. Then, about 25 yards out from the net, he kicked a hard shot that got past the goalkeeper to give Woodford a 2-1 lead. “Good build up play through midfield that resulted in Glenn Fister switching the ball to Avery who raced past his mark and slotted it home with a very good finish,” explained Atanga. The two teams took that score into the locker room at the half, where the Western Hills coaches tried to come up with a way to regroup, while on Woodford’s side, Atanga tried to find a way to get the players more energized. In the second half, Woodford took a 3-1 lead off a solid free kick by Maclain Evans that beat the Western Hills keeper. Evans has been very accurate with free kicks all season. “It was a very well-taken free kick,” said Atanga. “He’s been hitting them really well and scored one against Franklin County Tuesday (Sept. 6) as well.” Unfortunately for Woodford, Western Hills found a second wind and rallied back to tie the game, 3-3, and send the game into overtime. After the overtime, the game still remained tied, so it all came down to penalty kicks. In the end, Woodford missed two of the five kicks, while Western Hills only missed one of its five kicks, which gave the win to the Wolverines, 4-3.

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