BY RAY SCHAEFER
THE DAILY INDEPENDENT
LEXINGTON In 1969, Three Dog Night sang about how “one is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.”
The lyric didn’t apply to West Jessamine’s girls soccer team.
A single tally was all the two-time defending state champion Colts needed for a 1-0 win over 16th Region champion Russell in Saturday’s state quarterfinals at Lafayette High School’s Ishmael Stadium.
Russell coach John Perry figured it would be a close game.
“I was hoping that we would be able to put one in the back of the net ourselves,” Perry said. “I knew these girls would bring it to West Jessamine, and they didn’t disappoint.”
West Jessamine assistant coach Joel Pope, meanwhile, would’ve liked a few more goals.
“We were controlling the ball fairly well, so I was pretty comfortable with the girls we have on the back line and our goalie,” Pope said.
Colts coach Kevin Wright was serving a suspension for being red-carded during West Jessamine’s win against Boyle County in the 12th Region Tournament finals.
West Jessamine’s Caroline Absher’s score in the 28th minute was just enough. She took Audrey Henry’s header and tapped the ball past Lady Devil goalkeeper Mercedes Maupin.
The Colts’ score started with Leah Hardin’s corner kick to Maupin’s left. Henry’s header deflected off Maupin and to Absher, who was waiting for the tap-in.
“They just played a quick ball with a set piece,” Maupin said. “I tried to dive on it, but the turf, with it being wet, was faster.”
Aside from the goal, West Jessamine’s (16-3-5) greatest achievement was holding Allen scoreless. She finished her final high school season with 25 goals.
Within a three-minute span of the first half, three Colt shots whistled wide right of Maupin.
West Jessamine had 11 shots on goal for the game, while Russell had none.
“As a whole team we played really hard,” said Allen, who expects to play college soccer at Georgetown College. “It’s honestly just hard to even talk about because that was my last high school career game.”
The Lady Devils were understandably teary-eyed despite Perry’s entreaty to remember their third quarterfinal berth in as many seasons.
“It was probably one of the best seasons I ever had,” Maupin said. “We definitely improved a lot since last year. There’s more chemistry on the team than last year.”