All 'A' Classic presents big chance for Ads

September 22, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

It may be a small-school tournament, but it's a big chance for a young Danville boys soccer team to do a little growing up.

The Admirals' appearance in this weekend's All "A" Classic will be the most intense tournament experience to date for some of their younger players, and coach Gary Reynolds said he's sure the experience will be good for his team.

"The good part about this is we've got most of them coming back," Reynolds said.

What Reynolds isn't sure of is how good his team will be.

"With our guys, we're not really sure if we're a tournament-type team," Reynolds said. "But we sure had a mighty good rally (in the regional).

"They're finding ways to win. They've just been a lot of fun to watch."

Danville (5-3-1) earned one of the eight berths in the statewide tournament for Class A schools by beating Middlesboro, Corbin and Somerset two weeks ago to win its regional.


Danville plays St. Patrick

The Admirals will play St. Patrick at 1 p.m. Saturday at Capitol View Park in Frankfort in the first round of the state bracket. The Saints (3-5) are coached by Phillip Mauney, who serves alongside Reynolds on a statewide coaches' board.

"He's a good coach, so we're expecting a good game," Reynolds said.

If the Ads win, they will play Kentucky Country Day or St. Henry, the tournament favorite, in a semifinal at 3 p.m. Sunday. A win in that game would put them in the championship game at 7 p.m. Sunday.

"We're just tickled to be there," Reynolds said. "This has only been going on for four years, and we've been there twice."

Danville's previous appearance was in 2001, when the Admirals defeated Glasgow in a first-round game, then lost to Bethlehem in the semifinal round.

Senior defender Taylor Lamblin, who was a freshman on that team, said the Admirals are looking forward to testing themselves against the state's best small schools.

"It's just a chance to prove ourselves," Lamblin said.

Danville is tuning up for the tourney with a pair of challenging games this week against Madison Southern and Anderson County.

The Admirals dropped a 3-0 decision to 24th-ranked Southern Tuesday night at Admiral Stadium, though it was a 1-0 game until the last three minutes, and they'll have their hands full again Thursday at Anderson.

"We're thinking that'll be good preparation for the All 'A,'" Reynolds said.

Reynolds said he has seen an improvement in the Admirals' overall effort in their recent games, as well as in specific areas that have given them a better chance to win.

"Their passing has been really nice, and we're doing a much better job of challenging for flighted balls with our head. That has made a huge difference."

Southern ices game

Danville stayed with Southern Tuesday until the Eagles iced the game with two goals in the 78th minute.

Southern junior Ralph Compton drove past two defenders for his second goal of the game to give the Eagles (10-0-1) a 2-0 lead with 2:57 to play, and Brad Obergfell added an insurance goal with 2:01 remaining.

"We played pretty solid, except we had a few letdowns," Lamblin said.

Reynolds said he was extremely happy with his team's performance, at least for the first 77 minutes.

"I was very proud of the way we played," he said.

Reynolds said the Admirals got a strong defensive effort from its defensive line of Lamblin, Zach Hampton, Jameson Gay and Josh Rice, a unit that has been playing well of late.

"We're solid in the back," he said.

Danville got several scoring chances in the second half and goalkeeper Matt Booth made several saves to keep the Ads in the game after Southern took a 1-0 lead on an impressive shot by Compton with 17:44 left in the first half.

"He's incredible," Reynolds said. "He's a Division I player."

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