The West Jessamine High School girls' soccer team continued its roll through the district and region Saturday night, punching a ticket to the state tournament with a 7-1 victory over Lincoln County in the 12th Region final in Danville.
It was the team’s second straight region title after claiming the 14th Region championship en route to the state semifinals last year. This was West’s first year in the 12th Region. The Lady Patriots ended the season with a record of 15-5-2.
It only took about nine minutes for the Lady Colts (14-4-7) to get on the board as senior Toria Howard found the back of the net. The chances kept coming as West controlled the action, with freshman Savannah Layne pushing the lead to 2-0 with 14 minutes left in the first half and Howard tacking on a penalty kick just before the half to give the Lady Colts a 3-0 lead at the break.
“We were super confident, because when you have a 3-0 lead, it just gives you some cushion to try new things and take it easy, sort of,” senior Danielle Chanda said. “You still want to push on through till the end, but we had a little bit of leeway to relax, and that was nice, especially for a championship.”
The lead stretched to 6-0 halfway through the second half after a penalty kick from sophomore Sarah Wiggins, a goal from senior Jessica Watson and the completion of a hat trick from Howard. Junior Natalie Traynor added another score with seven minutes left before the Lady Patriots finally got on the board with just 21 seconds left in the game — the first goal that the West defense had given up this postseason.
West coach Kevin Wright said the team’s defense and scoring had really been able to flourish throughout the region tournament, culminating with the championship.
“We’ve got weapons — it’s just that when you play such a strong schedule, you’re only going to get a goal or two a game,” he said. “You’re not going to pound teams, so when you get your opportunities, you can score. When you get to games like this and start breaking through a little bit, then you get some confidence.”
During a ceremony after the game, Howard, senior goalkeeper Rebekah Hulsing, senior Maddye Hahn and Wiggins were named to the all-region team along with East Jessamine's Devon Burnside and Makensie Danaher.