“This is just another game,” West coach Kevin Wright said. West has played so many top teams throughout the season that playing a top-10 team with a trip to the final four on the line was business as usual for the Lady Colts. “It all just slows down and then there’s no pressure because you’re relaxed and have been there before and believe in each other.”
The win over the Lady Rebels (17-3-3) took about 86 minutes to accomplish but was over in the blink of an eye. In the first minute of double overtime, the Lady Colts had possession of the ball on Boyle’s side of the field.
Kathryn Hale dumped the ball into the corner to Maddie Lockridge, who sent the ball to Danielle Chanda, who was about 15 feet from the goal straight away. Chanda took a shot that was about 6 feet off the ground toward the right side of the goal. A Boyle defender stuck her head in the way at the last moment, and the ball ricocheted out to the right side to Sarah Wiggins’ feet. She hit the ball on the ground toward the right goal post; the keeper got a hand on the ball, but it wasn’t enough as the ball rolled into the net.
“(The ball) just came right to my feet, and I just looked up and hit it to the corner,” Wiggins said.
And then, after a fragmented and hectic 20-second sequence of the second overtime, West was headed to the semifinals of the state tournament for the first time in school history.
“We’re just super excited. This is the furthest the school has ever gone I’m pretty sure,” said Lockridge, a senior. “And we’re just happy to be the ones who are making it happen as seniors. Coach Wright has us being leaders of the team; we’re just happy that it was our senior year that we could do this. We want to go all the way.”
Neither team had a clear advantage during regulation of the first overtime. West was able to outshoot Boyle the whole night and hold the Rebels to just a handful of decent looks.
“We came out to a good start, and normally we’re a second-half team, but we kind of freaked out, had to get it back together, and that’s exactly what we did,” senior Jenna Bird said.
Wright reached his boiling point in the final minutes of regulation and was given a yellow card following an exchange with the referee.
Rebekah Hulsing recorded her fourth shutout of the postseason and 12th of the year.
“My back line and my goalkeeper (Hulsing) have just been so solid,” Wright said.
The West offense has now scored 18 goals in the six postseason matches; 10 different Lady Colts have scored at least one goal during the run.
“(Tonight) just shows you that we have a bunch of different people that can score. A freshman scored our winning goal ... it just makes me really proud of my team that we can come together and play like that,” Hale said.
West will face Notre Dame on Thursday at 8 p.m. at Dunbar High School in Lexington.
“This is unreal and we’re all on top of the world and we’re going to Dunbar,” Henderson said.
“I’m so proud of my team ... we’ve kind of been the underdog all year,” Wright said. “We’re so balanced and play so good out of the back ... nobody can say, ‘I’m going to stop them or them and we’ll beat West,’ because we’re so balanced.”
“Everyone always doubts us; they always put us down,” Lockridge said. “... They (a local high-school sports website) were saying we were going to lose tonight 4-1, and we just love proving people wrong because everyone is just putting us down at the bottom.”