The Lincoln County girls' run for a regional title took another step foward Thursday night as the Patriots defeated East Jessamine 2-1 in the semifinals of the 12th Region Tournament at Boyle County.
After losing to the Jaguars 3-1 during the regular season, Lincoln was able to avenge that loss with a pair of second-half goals by Maddie Adams and Micheala Sebastian.
“I can’t be any more proud of them,” Lincoln coach Andrew Kaiser said. “They just played their hearts out.”
Lincoln (15-4-2) will play West Jessamine (13-4-7) in the regional championship at 7 p.m. Saturday at Rebel Stadium. The Colts are winners of the 46th District and beat Pulaski County and Boyle County to reach the finals.
East Jessamine (14-10-1) — runner-up in the 46th District — took an early 1-0 lead on a goal by Devon Burnside. Burnside was able to get free and beat goalkeeper Jerrica Kidd one-on-one from about 15 feet out. East Jessamine’s goal came just 5 1/2 minutes into the game.
Lincoln was on the defensive for much of the first 40 minutes, as the Jaguars were able to put together several runs at the goal. It looked as if the Patriots might tie the game around the 15-minute mark, but a couple of saves by East’s Heather Welch squashed the attack.
With 9:20 remaining in the first half, Adams had a shot glance off the left post.
East Jessamine carried the lead into the second half, but Lincoln was able to start to getting more penetration and better looks at the goal. Sebastian got off a few shots in the first ten minutes but could not convert.
“In the first half I thought we struggled and we were having trouble matching up with them,” Kaiser said. “But we changed the formation and we were able to do a lot better in the second half.”
With 23:15 remaining in the game, East Jessamine thought it had just killed another scoring threat, but the official called a foul in the box and Adams lined up to take the penalty kick for the Patriots. She shot right and the ball snuck past a diving Welch by mere inches to tie the game at 1-all.
Burnside kept getting penetration for the Jaguars, but her shots kept missing high or wide.
As time ticked away and the clock got under 10 minutes, it looked like the Lincoln might be heading for overtime for the first time this season.
Following a corner kick by East Jessamine, Burnside got two good looks at the goal but missed high both times. Lincoln was able to counter and catch East off guard at the other end.
Sebastian got the ball on the left side and took a shot at the right post. Her shot was true and gave Lincoln a 2-1 advantage with 3:36 remaining in the game.
The Patriots advanced to the region final for the first time in school history.
“We still have another game, so there’s still work to do,” Kaiser said. “Hopefully we’ll have a good practice tomorrow.”