HARRODSBURG — The Lincoln County boys had Somerset on its heels less than a minute into the match and never let up Tuesday, beating the Briar Jumpers 5-1 in the first round of the 12th Region Tournament — the Patriots first regional win.
Carl Lewis Cummins scored the first of his two goals 32 seconds into the match, Carter Dunn scored twice and Ian Blevins had four of his six saves in the first 17 minutes as the Patriots (12-6) advanced to face West Jessamine (13-10-1) in tonight’s second semifinal at Mercer County. Danville and No. 6 Mercer play the first game tonight.
“It means a lot. We’ve come from not winning a game all season, being happy tying people to competing in the district and getting our first region win,” Cummins said of the school’s historic win. “It feels good.”
And it didn’t take long for the Patriots to start those good feelings.
Dunn threw the ball in, got it back and lofted a pass down near the goal for Cummins. Somerset keeper Brandon Patterson came out, which allowed Cummins to get the ball and score an easy goal for a 1-0 lead with 39 minutes, 28 seconds left in the first half.
“Carter got the ball out on the left wing,” Cummins said. “I just made a backside run and they didn’t see me. He played a good ball to me.”
Lincoln coach Chaz Garcia said that goal set the tone for the night.
“Any time you score like that, you just put yourself in a really good position,” he said. “We’re playing to stay ahead. They’re just trying to get back in the game.”
The Briar Jumpers (10-8-2) regrouped and started firing away, but Blevins turned back everything that came at him.
He had a diving save of a shot by Austin Hill three minutes after Cummins’ goal, then had a kick save after a 1-on-1 with Hill to keep it a 1-0 game with 34:27 to go in the half.
Seven minutes later, Carlos Canella was pressured by the Lincoln defense and got off a low shot left which Blevins made another diving save for, then capped off his strong first half by stopping another 1-on-1 with Hill with 22:54 to go in the first half.
“I just played with my heart and not emotions. I left my emotions at home, played with all I can,” said Blevins, who was injured on that final save in a collision with Hill but came back in the game 4 1/2 minutes later.
“Ian has really come along through the season,” Garcia said. “He’s made some remarkable saves for us, and tonight he had big time saves. All it takes is that one big save, and if they score, it could be a game-changing goal. By him keeping that from happening, it’s still going our way and the flow is still with us.”
It stayed 1-0 until Dunn took a pass on a break out from Boone Baird, caught Patterson coming out from the goal again and scored for a 2-0 lead with 12:13 left in the first half. Blake Henderson added another goal as the Patriots built a commanding 3-0 halftime lead.
Not content to sit on their lead and play defense, the Patriots kept attacking in the second half. With 32:13 to play, Jacob Dunn lofted a cross pass left that found Cummins wide open near the goal, and he cashed in for a 4-0 lead.
Somerset finally got on the board with 4:45 to go on a goal by Nick Henry, but Carter Dunn got the goal back when he was fouled in the penalty box and converted the penalty kick for a 5-1 lead
Garcia likes the way his team is playing now, but knows the Colts will be a tough out. West beat Lincoln 6-3 in the Berea Cup on Sept. 11, but a short-handed Lincoln led 3-2 at the half.
“Once they got up on us we were just done. We were just emotionally and physically done,” Garcia said. “But with our flow the way it is right now, having guys the way we have them, I’d say we are definitely going to come out and West Jessamine’s going to have to play their hearts out to beat us.”
After losing on senior night and in the district championship, Garcia said his team is playing with a certain fire.
“They’re just hungry and they want it,” he said. “We keep playing like this, we’ll put up a good fight. We’ll put up a good fight until the very end.”