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Admirals up to the task vs. Lincoln County

Danville knew Tuesday’s game against Lincoln County would be a test.

It’s a test that the Admirals passed, beating the visiting Patriots 5-2 in the 45th District tournament semifinals.

“We knew they were going to play tough, they played tough and they’ve got some good athletes that disrupted things for us,” Danville head coach JD Smith said. “We kind of locked in on being one-dimensional with what we wanted to do and it wasn’t until we tried different options that things opened us for us. It’s good to get the win.”

The game was locked in a scoreless battle for the first 30 minutes, with both teams having few clear chances to take a lead.

It wasn’t until Lara Akers broke free from the Patriots’ offsides trap and scored into the corner of the net.

Abbie Hibbs got the second goal of the game seven minutes later after capitalizing on a miscommunication in the Lincoln defense.

That was the score at halftime, and the second half scoring didn’t take long to begin.

Hibbs scored her second goal of the game just 18 seconds into the half after Akers dropped a ball to her in the box to make the game 3-0.

“It was good to see some very unselfish play up top, that’s what allowed us to get the goals,” Smith said. “They weren’t trying to force the issue themselves, they just trusted their teammates to get it done. That was because of some positive communication.”

Maddy Boyle would then get the Patriots on the scoreboard midway through the second half, giving Lincoln life late in the game.

But Kailyn Wilcher’s right foot ended the Patriots’ rally, as she scored from 35 yards away on a free kick near the sideline. Her shot curled over Lincoln’s Dallis Brown in goal and into the side netting.

Danville striker Ashley Rankin added to the Danville tally with a goal to make the game 5-1, and Lincoln’s Raelyn Amon pounced on a bobbled ball in the Admirals’ box to finish the scoring.

The Admirals will get a day off before returning home to face Boyle County in the 45th District championship. It’s the fourth year in a row that the two teams have met in the district championship. Boyle has won the past three.

“This was tough. They were physical, they pushed us to raise our game,” Smith said. “We know what kind of opponent Boyle is, it’s a great program and a really good team. We know we’ll have to step our game up in order to compete. I think my girls will.”