WCHS girls’ soccer beats Franklin Co. for district title
After defeating Frankfort in a 10-0 mercy-rule victory at home in Community Stadium on Monday, Oct. 10, in the opening round of the 41st District tournament, the Lady Jackets took to the field once again on Thursday, Oct. 13, on a mission to beat Franklin County and win their seventh-straight district title. Mission accomplished. Behind two goals by freshman Shelbi Morrison, and one each by Kailee Nobles and Sydney Smith, the Lady Jackets defeated the Lady Flyers 4-0 to win the 2016 district title. “The girls were hyped for the game,” said Woodford head coach Brad Turpin Jr. “They knew the importance of keeping the district champion streak going. What I liked most was how calm we were on the back-line. Camryn Pictor and Makayla Devore, recently back from injury, make us feel protected. We’ve been very happy with Kristen Jordan in goal the past few weeks and are excited for the opportunity she’ll have as a senior next season. “That being said, we were happy to see senior goalkeeper Lelia Graf in goal to finish out her senior season. Lelia brings an intimidation factor to our team as well as height with a field player’s mentality – so many positives. “Raegan Gilbert has become quite comfortable in the back; we’ll need her hustle and determination in Regions. I was happy with Isabel Taylor’s play in the first half – very patient, good decisions; she has a very bright future at WCHS. (Also), our competitive leader on the field, Caitlyn Burdine. Her energy, will to win, athleticism, tactical awareness lead us on the pitch.” After the game, freshman Shelbi Morrison, junior Lauren Rankin and senior Camryn Pictor were named to the 41st All-District Team, while senior Caitlyn Burdine was named tournament MVP. In addition, with the win, Woodford advanced to the 11th Region tournament, which will be held at Woodford Monday through Saturday, Oct. 17 to 22. As the game opened, Woodford was in control and set up many scoring opportunities, but just didn’t get into the net. Meanwhile, Franklin County didn’t have many chances, and the ones it had, Lady Jacket junior goalkeeper Kristen Jordan made sure they did not get into the net.
Then at 36:14, Morrison received a pass from Rankin in front of the net a few yards out and booted it right past the Franklin County goalkeeper for a 1-0 Woodford lead. The score remained the same until the 10:38 mark when Rankin and Morrison hooked up once again. This time, Rankin passed it ahead of Morrison near midfield. Morrison then used her speed to outrace the Franklin County defender, get the ball and shot it in from the top of the box to give the Lady Jackets a 2-0 lead. “Just a freshman and she stepped up big,” said Turpin. “Shelbi is so comfortable in front of goal. It’s like she thinks of nothing when she’s in front of the goal, which is a great thing. She doesn’t appear to feel a lot of pressure and probably doesn’t even know what exactly she’s accomplishing; she’s a natural striker. She gets the ball, gets to goal and finishes. She had 3-4 other chances she could have, or should have, finished. We’ll need all of those chances on goal come regions. If Shelbi can finish the chances she creates and the ones we create for her, we have a good chance going forward.” Woodford put one more score on the board before the end of the first half when, with 20.2 seconds to go, the ball was passed into the Franklin County net from the left side. The goalkeeper touched it, but it slowly rolled across the mouth of the goal where freshman Kailee Nobles was standing, and she put it into the back of the net for a 3-0 Woodford lead at the half. “Kailee is such a great girl; big heart and always wants to do well,” said Turpin. “She holds herself accountable for a very high level of plays. Her finish gives credence to the phrase, ‘good things happen when you look to finish.’ Kailee’s teammates want her to get looks on goal much more, even as far as 30-40 yards out. She can really strike a ball.”
The second half was more defense than offense, as Woodford, while still trying to score, was also trying to keep Franklin County from getting any good scoring opportunities, and the one or two they had, senior goalkeeper, Leila Graf, who was back from injury, made the stop every time. Woodford put one more great play together and at 8:34, Sydney Smith got the ball and wasted no time, kicking it past the keeper for a 4-0 lead for the Lady Jackets. “Sydney is always all smiles,” said Turpin. “I didn’t think the smile could get much bigger, but it did. Part of our pregame was follow every shot on goal and every ball going back to the goalkeeper and she did just that and rewarded herself with a goal.” Neither team found the net after that score, and when it was over, Woodford had won the title. One other player whose performance pleased Turpin was Rankin. “Lauren Rankin had one of her best games in quite a long time,” said Turpin. “She protected Zone 14 defensively for us and made passes forward that most other high school age players don’t even see, let alone execute. If Lauren holds this level of execution and aggression, we can make some waves in the state going forward.” What was surprising to hear Turpin mention was that, even though Woodford had a winning performance, there were a few players “not on their game.” “(In the game), the scary thing, in a good way, was, we had a few key players not on their game,” said Turpin. “The energy was there, the hustle and desire to win was there, which is always good, but their touch and/or decision-making weren’t at the level usually expected of them. We’ll get a couple training sessions in before regions and bring those players back around. “The girls know what they have to do to continue deep into the postseason tournament: Finishing all of our chances with energy and hustle, minimizing mistakes and taking advantage of the other team’s mistakes, holding each other accountable for our performance, along with a little luck and proper execution – all realistic, attainable goals.” Next up, the Lady Jackets are hosting the 11th Region Tournament at Community Stadium, Monday through Saturday, Oct. 17 to 22. In their first game on Tuesday, Oct. 18, the Lady Jackets defeated Bryan Station 2-0. With the win, they move on to face Lexington Catholic onThursday, Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. Lexington Catholic advanced with an 11-1 win over Berea.