No love lost as West Jess tops Boyle in championship

Published 9:12 am Friday, October 21, 2016

SOMERSET — It would be wise to preface this article by stating that the West Jessamine and Boyle County girls’ soccer teams are not to fond of one another. The postgame antics, and the lack of a team handshake following the match, would attest to that.  

It’s a common ground found between the two 12th Region rivals who are forced to face another in what seems to be a yearly brawl for the opportunity to reach the KHSAA state tournament.

This season, the pendulum swung West’s way as the Colts weathered an hour-and-a-half lightning delay on Thursday to defeat Boyle 2-0 in the 12th Region championship game under a cold, persistent rain at Southwestern.

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“Everyone of these kids worked their tail off,” West coach Kevin Wright said. “We just stayed in the moment.”

With the win, West has now defeated Boyle in the 12th Region championship game two out of the past three seasons.

The two teams have not faced one another in the regular season in years, so the match for West was an opportunity to avenge last season’s 1-0 loss at the hands of Boyle in the same region finale. And the Colts made sure not to squander that opportunity.

Before the rain arrived in the second half, the first half consisted of two state powerhouses who were forced to slug it out for just one spot in the state tournament. Both teams ripped off shot after shot, all of which just either missed high or just wide.

Those shots that did manage to find their way into the the keepers were either parried away or snagged by West’s Anna Rexford and Boyle’s Sarah Burns.  As a result of the great keeping on both sides, the two teams entered the half scoreless with West leading in shot attempts, 12-5.

The second half kicked off with bang after West’s Eva Mitchell booted a shot that was deflected away at the last moment by a leaping Burns. Then the weather, in the form of lightning and pouring rain, arrived. What followed was over an hour lightning delay that subsided into a misty rain that slicked up and puddled the field.

When the idea of resuming the game Saturday came up, Boyle declined as the players have SAT testing.

Despite players slipping and sliding and balls stopping on a dime in puddles, the Colts utilized their speed and finesse until Mitchell broke through with 27 minutes remaining in the game.

“Honestly, I thought (West) did a better job at possessing and playing with their feet than we did,” Boyle coach Brian Deem said. “We kind of panicked a little bit and I’m not sure why. Could be the energy and excitement.”

Boyle would still fight back; however, the Rebels had no answer for the play of Rexford in the box. And with just under four minutes left, Maryah Jones cemented the victory for West when the ball instantly stopped in a puddle above the box, confusing the charging Boyle keeper, which allowed Jones to lob the ball past for the 2-0 lead.

“I’m proud of my kids,” Wright said. “Just a few seniors, but it’s quality over quantity. For 80 minutes we put it on them. But (Boyle) had a heck of a year, played hard. We beat a good team.”

Boyle concludes its season with two losses, both of which came against top 10 teams, and a school-record 24-2 mark.

“(Wright) has a great team,” Deem said. “With Mitchell and them, they’ve got the ability to do some great stuff in the postseason.”