Boyle County downs Danville 1-0 in girls 45th District championship

Published 4:17 pm Thursday, October 12, 2017

Boyle County and Danville again played up to the hype.

The two rivals squared off in the 45th District Championship game Wednesday at Boyle, with the Rebels edging the Admirals 1-0.

The Rebels’ speed and pressure — and a key linkup between Chelsea Elmore and Chelsea Moore — was the difference in a  physical contest.

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Boyle head coach Brian Deem was quick to credit Danville and coach JD Smith on their performance.

“You’ve got to give credit to JD and his kids,” he said. “They fought their tails off tonight. It was an extremely hard-fought game from both teams tonight. All my credit to JD and his girls.”

The two teams played once in the regular season, also at Boyle, and the Rebels won 2-0.

This time around, the Admirals wanted it to be different. Smith said his team’s effort was there, but too many “little mistakes” were enough to sink the Admirals.

“I thought they played with a lot of effort,” Smith said. “Physically, they played the game they needed to. But there was still a lot of little things that we didn’t do, and we needed to, to win this game. That was the difference. If we’re going to be successful (in region), we’re going to have to fix those things. And I think we can. But we didn’t do enough of those things tonight.”

Both teams had opportunities early in the game, but both goalkeepers — Boyle’s Sarah Burns and Danville’s Grace Gaffney — did well to prevent goals. Both Burns and Gaffney were named to the all-tournament team.

Boyle’s breakthrough came midway through the first half, when Moore cut inside past a defender and played a ball through to Elmore inside the box to slot home past Gaffney.

“I’m proud of my girls, they did a great job going out there and making sure they did their jobs,” Deem said. “We capitalized on some mistakes. I thought we did a really good job in the first half of pressuring them down the wings. They made some adjustments to kind of neutralize that, then we got in a sloppy game in the second half. But we made the right plays to get the win.”

Deem praised Moore’s night, who was the most threatening player going forward on either team.

“I’ve been challenging her all year,” Deem said. “I sent her and the five seniors a video today, talking about the journey and explaining to them how important this is. This is your last go around, this is your last time. We need to make sure we have no regrets.

“And she responded tonight. I told her I wanted her to attack people on the dribble, I didn’t want her looking to give up the ball. She did just that and she was able to find El-Rod for the goal.”

Boyle’s pressure in the midfield frustrated the Danville attack, and the Admirals struggled  to find quality opportunities at goal.

That pressure highlighted the “little things” that Smith said his team would have to fix before region.

“That’s something we’ve talked about, being quicker on the ball and to play a shorter game with our mids, and then make sure we’re providing more options for our teammates,” Smith said. “We just didn’t do enough of that tonight. There were times where we were narrow-minded in what we were trying to do, we weren’t looking at all of our options. And I thought we had more options than we really thought we did.”

Defensively, Smith said his team was solid, but could have taken a page out of Boyle’s book and applied more pressure on the ball.

“There’s a lot of times where we weren’t applying the pressure and we should have been,” Smith said. “And these kinds of games, that comes back to get you.

“That’s what happens, in a game like this when it’s separated by just a goal, there’s a lot of things you can look at and say ‘this is what it is.’ But it’s just one of those things where we’ll have to get back on the training field and go from there.”

Boyle’s midfield stepped up in a big way Wednesday, Deem said.

“We’ve been working long and hard trying to maneuver some people around since Abby (Carter) got injured,” Deem said. “We tried three or four different things and it seemed to work tonight.”

One key cog in that midfield wheel was freshman Lindsey Warinner, who played a defensive midfield role for most of the game and did well to contain Danville’s speed in attack.

“I thought Lindsey Warinner played her tail off tonight,” Deem said. “She worked hard trying to neutralize and control them, did good things defensively for us. All in all, the kids did a good job on containing their speed up top. I thought we did a good job.”

Deem challenged his midfield, and the rest of his team, to be the first to the ball on every play.

“We told them, there was only one thing we asked them to do tonight: ‘You’ve got to step to a ball and be willing to win it. If you do that, you’re going to put yourself in a position to be successful.’ And I thought we did,” he said.

Smith noted a trio of upperclassmen as standouts in the championship game.

“I thought Courtney Howe did very well for us,” he said. “She always does well for us, she works extremely hard. Technically, she was doing what she needed to do on the ball. Then Gracie, in goal. But there were a lot of times when they got through and she stopped them. Kailyn Wilcher, she’s been nursing a knee injury and it came back to hurt her there at the end, but she’s had to tough it out the past few games and tonight she really had to work through it, and she was really strong.”

Danville will play a district champion in the first round of the 12th Region tournament next week.

“I told the girls there, they’re a great group of kids,” Smith said. “They definitely deserve the best, they deserve championships. But you have to earn things like that. And we just didn’t do enough to earn it tonight. That’s a tough truth. But we’ll bounce back from this.”

Boyle will host the 12th Region tournament and will play a district runner up in the first round. A win would be win No. 300 in program history.

“We get to host the region at our place, on the turf,” Deem said. “It’s going to be a difficult road, but I’d rather it be here than be on a bus.”