GIRLS SOCCER: Boyle County’s Kylie Thompson scores four goals on 18th birthday

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Turning 18-years-old only happens once in a person’s life.

Scoring four goals in one game isn’t quite as rare for Kylie Thompson.

The Boyle County senior celebrated her 18th birthday Monday by scoring four times in the Rebels’ 7-0 win over Mercer County in their first game of the Spine Center Classic at Rebel Field. It tied Thompson’s season high for goals in a game.

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“Kylie sometimes can be a little too unselfish,” Boyle coach Brian Deem said. “Sometimes I want her to take people on a little more than she does, to get in the box and create some things for herself versus always trying to create things for other people. Tonight, I think she had a nice mix of knowing when to go, find a way to get something for herself, and when to look to see if she can drop it off for someone else.”

Thompson leads the Rebels (14-1) with 23 goals, and she’s scored in 13 of their 15 games. She was as dominant as she has been all season in Monday’s win, scoring twice in each half.

Her first gave Boyle a 2-0 lead as she slid a breakaway shot from left to right across the keeper. She later put the Rebels up 4-0 as the Mercer keeper misplayed the ball and Thompson got in behind her to score.

Thompson completed her hat trick less than four minutes into the second half for a 5-0 lead, and she capped off the scoring with 25 minutes, 2 seconds to play. Thompson and the Rebels stayed aggressive throughout the game despite what the numbers read on the scoreboard.

“It’s important for us to do that to prepare us for future games, not just to win this game, but to continue to play like we practice so we can use it in future games,” Thompson said.

Emmie Harris, Lindsey Wren and Abby Carter also scored for Boyle, which won for the fifth-straight game.

The TItans were coming off their first win of the season, a 10-0 decision Saturday at Somerset, and they played solid possession ball in the first 10 minutes. But according to coach Josh Culver, his team let up as the game went on.

“We were passing, we were moving, we were working the ball a little bit and doing a good job of controlling the middle,” Culver said. “We found some looks. We had three shots in the first 10 minutes, and then after that 10 minutes, we started playing defense, doing a lot of one-versus-one, one-versus-two, trying to out-run players. When you try to do those things, it breaks it down a little bit. You still have to be able to possess the ball for 80 minutes.”

It’s been a difficult road for Mercer (1-7) in Culver’s first season, but the coach is committed to keeping his players focused on their growth and not necessarily wins and losses.

“I keep telling them all season, it’s about the progress you make throughout the season, even though they look at it as wins and losses throughout the season,” Culver said.

“Overall, I’m happy with the progress they’re making, even though the wins don’t show the progress that they’ve made. They just have to keep their heads up and we’ve got to keep our heads up as a team.”

Deem was impressed by the Titans.

“That’s a team that if it were to get hot and get a little confidence, they can be a tough out,” he said.

Deem was keeping his players focused on Mercer with a big rematch against Bethlehem looming Wednesday. The Rebels beat Bethlehem in the final of the Louisville Male Bulldog Cup last week.

“Our focus was to get through to the next game,” Deem said. “Don’t get wrapped up in the hype and understand we’ve got to play harder, longer; get better and look at the bigger picture.

“Our girls are tired. Last week was a grind on them. Those three trips to Louisville, against very good competition, the games were physical. They responded, and they responded again tonight.”

Mercer will play Madison Central at 6 p.m. Wednesday — the Titans lost to Central 2-0 last Tuesday — before Boyle hosts Bethlehem in the semifinal of the tournament.
Follow Jeremy Schneider on Twitter @jschneideramn