BY RAY SCHAEFER
THE DAILY INDEPENDENT
LLOYD It happened in the 76th
minute. Russell girls soccer coach John Perry smiled.
Perry and the two-time defending 16th Region champion Lady Devils were equally overjoyed Tuesday. After eliminating Rowan County, 61, they’ll get a chance for back-to-back-to-back crowns at Greenup County High School.
It’ll be Russell versus Ashland for the title on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Perry may have smiled late, but he didn’t sound pleased in the postgame huddle.
“I have high expectations for this team,” Perry said. “We have a lot of talented players, and I expect them to play to a certain standard. (Tuesday) we were playin’ to an uneven pitch, a sloppy field. The second half, especially, we weren’t connecting as well as we could have. We scored two goals in the second half, but I feel like we could have been a lot more dangerous.”
You’d be giddy, too — at least if you bleed Russell maroon and gold: Kynidee Allen scored three times and served an assist, Kylie Busick scored twice, Georgia Arrington had two assists, and Kyndall Du-Vall added her first varsity goal.
Usually, Arrington will send a corner kick in front of the goal, looking for a header. A different set piece led to Busick’s first goal in the second minute — Arrington sent a short corner to Busick, who fired past the Lady Vikings’ Maegan Gonzalez from about 30 yards away.
“I think teams we play expect us to just whip one in because they see Taylor Stamper, and she’s got a heck of a head,” Arrington said. “But they never see that (short corner) comin’, and Kylie was wide open; I knew Kylie could make it from there, and she did.”
For the rest of the first half, it seemed like the Greenup Lock and Dam had been opened. Allen scored off Arrington’s pass in the 14th minute and added her second goal in the 18th, and DuVall made it 4-0 in the 35th.
“I think we’re just too nervous the first half (to) play with composure,” Rowan County coach Alan Evans said.
As noteworthy as Allen’s, Busick’s and DuVall’sfirsthalf scoring and Arrington’s assisting were, you would be wrong to exclude two of their teammates — Renae Keeton and Abby Satterwhite. They helped shut down Rowan County’s Promise Cross — she of the 33 goals this year — for the second time in 2018.
“(Cross is) really hard to mark, but our coach told us to keep her in front of us and contain her,” Satterwhite said. “Just don’t let her do a slick move past us and just contain. And that’s what we did.”
Satterwhite also said Keeton consistently got to most balls before Cross.
Rowan County (13-7-1) avoided a shutout when Audrey Evans scored on Natalie Peyton’s assist in the 44th minute. Busick and Allen scored their second and third times, respectively, in the 67th.
Russell (12-4-1) already has three wins over Ashland this season, including a 5-0 blanking in the 63rd District finale on Oct. 10. To make it four straight, the Lady Devils must mark Abby Huff, who scored six in a 9-1 semifinal win East Carter.
“Abby Huff is a great player,” Allen said. “They’re best friends with most of us, so it’s kinda hard to play against them, but overall, I think if we play hard, we can come out with the win.”