Boyle girls take district title by beating Mercer 1-0

October 17, 2003|MIKE MARSEE

Things may have been at their worst for the Boyle County girls the first time they met Mercer County. But when the two teams met again Thursday night for a district title, Boyle was at its best.

The Rebels rose to the occasion in the 28th District Tournament championship, pouring everything they had into a 1-0 victory at Admiral Stadium.

Leah Missik scored the only goal Boyle (10-6-2) would need with just over 11 minutes left.

"We were just trying to play from our heart," Boyle defender Cierra Leffew said. "We weren't playing to win, we weren't playing to lose, we were playing the way we knew how to play."

"It proved a point: Even though you may not have a good record during the season, you never know what happens during the district."


Boyle avenged a 3-1 regular-season loss to Mercer (9-7-3) on Sept. 18. That loss was the last in a season-long three-game losing streak that left the Rebels at 3-5-2. Boyle coach Brian Deem said it was a low point for his team, which has won seven of eight games since, including its last six.

"Our turnaround began after the Mercer loss," Deem said. "We hit rock bottom in that game.

"We brought them together and told them we just wanted to focus on two things: communicating on the field and going to the ball. We focused on that every game."

Mercer coach Scott Dodson said things were noticeably different Thursday.

"We had a tough match against them in the regular season; we just happened to have a little more advantage at the time," Dodson said. "Tonight it just didn't work out for us."

It worked out for Boyle when Missik got a step on a Mercer defender as she took a pass from teammate Joanna Frauenhoffer. Missik, a freshman, put the ball into the net with 11:03 remaining.

"I just saw a through ball coming, and I didn't think at all," Missik said.

Boyle will have home-field advantage for regional

The victory gives Boyle the home-field advantage for next week's 14th Region Tournament. Boyle and Mercer will be joined by Western Hills and Woodford County in the tourney, which will begin Monday or Tuesday.

Boyle had beaten Danville in an elimination game only 24 hours earlier, while Mercer had two days of rest after its first-round game, so Deem said he was worried he might have a tired team.

"When you go two nights in a row playing 80 minutes of soccer, your legs get tired," Deem said.

But Dodson said fatigue was a problem for Mercer as well because of its smaller roster.

"The main players that I have played most of the game," he said. "I didn't have the subs to give them a breather."

Boyle outshot Mercer 19-15 after the Scotties held an early 5-1 edge in that area.

"The overall team speed of Mercer is so different from what we saw against Danville. They settled down, and I was very pleased with the way we handled it," Deem said.

Mercer's fleet forwards, Chrystal Claunch and Chelsea Goodman, created most of their teams scoring chances. They had eight of their team's shots between them, and Cala Alford had four more.

"I'm proud of what they've done so far this season," Dodson said of Mercer. "We weren't expecting to do so well, but as the season progressed a lot of things changed."

Frauenhoffer, Sarah Hall and Kelsey Arnett had 10 of Boyle's shots, while Missik's goal came on the only shot she got.

Hall, who scored three goals against Danville on Wednesday, was named the tournament's most valuable player.

Deem said he realized early in the second half that one goal for either team would probably be enough. The teams were playing on essentially even terms, and goalkeepers Tiffany Webb of Boyle and Erin Ashford of Mercer were stopping every shot within their reach.

"Both keepers played exceptionally well, both teams played well," he said. "This is exactly what the district championship is supposed to be."

And Boyle has come along just as the girls hoped they would since their loss to Mercer.

"We've come a long way," Missik said. "We're more game-savvy, and we're really focused on heart and character as well. And tonight we just really went after it."

All-Tournament Team

The all-tournament team, as selected by the coaches: Joanna Frauenhoffer, Cierra Leffew, Marianna Richardson and Tiffany Webb, Boyle County; Cala Alford, Kimmie Byrd, Chelsea Goodman and Whitney Hill, Mercer County; Krystal Jackson, Julie Johnson and Rosa Magana, Danville.

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