Oct. 19, 2012 — Taking the field after East Carter and Russell’s barnburner of a game was no easy task, but Rowan County and Ashland Blazer brought forth another nail biter in the nightcap.
After taking an early 1-0 lead, the Lady Vikings fell victim to two Ashland goals, suffering a 2-1 loss in the second round of the 16th Region tournament Wednesday night, ending the season for the rejuvenated program.
Rowan County controlled much of the early goings of the affair until it was able to capitalize with a senior to freshman hookup when Haley Devaney found Bailee Pennington 16 minutes in for the score.
Rowan County Head Coach Randy Wallace spoke about the game.
“We had some situations during the game where they could have laid down and quit but this group has never given up at anytime this season and they always find a way to finish,” Wallace said. “Even with those situations, we still played hard to the end and had some decent looks at the goal. We just couldnt get the ball in the net. I was extremely proud of the effort they played with.”
The 1-0 advantage was maintained by the Lady Viking defense for the next 20 minutes. Ashland caught a break by way of a penalty kick, with Charity Collins jumping on the opportunity for the Lady Cats, driving one past Ashley Burton for a 35th-minute score.
The chance to score came knocking once more for Rowan County late in the first half with a solid look for Devaney, only to see a deep shot bing off the top cross bar.
Burton and Ashland goalie Ashley Lucas had a battle for keeper supremacy in the final 40 minutes of play, with each making several highlight saves.
The 76th and 75th minutes of play ended up being the deciding factors of the game.
Controversy struck on a Rowan penalty kick when Hannah Bandura was victim of a foul that appeared to be inside the box, but was called otherwise. Bandura’s shot was stopped by Lucas.
Ashland Blazer’s next possession resulted in a corner kick from Collins, whose kick was headed by Kayla Brown before bouncing off the chest of Emma Wonn for the goal.
A frenzy to score for the Lady Vikings ensued over the next few minutes, but the Lady Cats played prevent, ending the season for the girls in green.
With a final record of 14-4-4, Wallace and his Lady Vikings had its best season in years, leaving promise for the future.
“It will be hard to replace this group of seniors as they have meant so much to getting the program turned around,” Wallace said. “All of them have been leaders and set the tone for practice everyday with their work ethic. We do have a talented group of young players already at the high school and a lot of potential at the middle school. The question will be, who is going to step up and lead like the last two groups have.”
Grant Stevens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 784-4116.