Boyle girls top Lincoln for district title

Published 2:24 pm Monday, October 11, 2021

The Boyle County girls’ latest championship was a long time coming.

It took more than the usual amount of extra time for the Boyle girls soccer team to win the game that took them back to the top of the 45th District, which is only fitting because it took quite some time for the Rebels to regain that perch.

Boyle won a shootout with Lincoln County on Saturday to claim a 2-1 victory that gave the Rebels their first district championship since 2018.

Since 2018, when the Rebels reached the regional finals with a senior-heavy lineup, Boyle has been immersed in the most thorough rebuilding mode since the early years of the program.

“We have been in a hard rebuilding process … and then coming into this year felt like we had a chance,” Boyle coach Brian Deem said. “Considering where this program was two years ago … to be able to come back as quick as we have and reclaim the district, that says a lot for my kids and what they’ve done.”

Boyle (11-6-2) needed four days to win the 45th District Tournament final following a postponement Wednesday and a suspension Thursday due to lightning, and it needed overtime and penalty kicks Saturday to fight off Lincoln on Deem’s 51st birthday.

“I turned 51 today, and I feel like I just lost four years of my life,” he said.

The Rebels outshot the Lady Patriots 4-1 in penalty kicks, clinching the shootout with Hensley Arnold’s successful shot in the fourth round.

“When I saw Hensley finish that last one and knew we didn’t have to go to that No. 5 kick, that made it all worth it. That’s why we do it,” Deem said.

The victory gave Boyle the right to host the 12th Region Tournament this week.

“We’re very happy to be playing it here,” Boyle goalkeeper Addie Cannon said.

Boyle had a rare losing season in 2019 but was back above .500 last year, and Shelby Horn, one of the team’s five seniors, said it has been a difficult climb.

“We’re definitely crawling back up the mountain,” Horn said. “We started slow last year, and we’ve definitely made a lot of progress and we’re getting there.”

Lincoln (9-4-3) missed two of its three shots in the shootout, the second of which was saved by Cannon, a freshman, was on the losing end of the Rebels’ only regular-season shootout but helped win this one with a diving save.

“I was so happy. I knew our team would score the rest and that we would pull it out,” she said. “It was stressful, but our team was very prepared this year.”

Deem noted that Cannon also made two significant stops as Boyle played Lincoln to a scoreless draw over the 45 minutes of the second half and overtime that were played Saturday.

“We found a way to keep the ball out of the net,” Deem said. “Cannon had two humongous saves, beastly saves, and then made the big save in PKs.”

The Rebels are playing the postseason without four starters, and they had their hands full with a young and energetic Lincoln team that has never beaten Boyle.

“That team is athletic, they play with passion, they’re strong. They’re going to be something to deal with in the next few years for sure,” Deem said. “But give credit to my girls, the delays that they had to go through, and we’re still not playing our best and we’re definitely not at full strength. We found a way to keep it in and give us a chance to win, and when we had to make plays we made big plays.”

Payton Bugg scored for Boyle in the 12th minute and Bailey Story scored for Lincoln in the 23rd minute Thursday before play was stopped due to lightning in the area. There was a total of 3 hours, 9 minutes of delays before the game was postponed Wednesday and suspended in the 45th minute Thursday.

Deem said the Rebels lacked energy on Thursday and lost some of their focus despite having better energy Saturday.

“When we lost that focus, Lincoln just started beating us to every 50-50 ball. All of a sudden we started panicking and we started playing not to lose, and I think that’s something we’ve got to work ourselves out of,” he said.

Horn said it was a nerve-wracking game, both because it took so long to complete and because there was so much on the line. The winner earned the right to host the 12th Region Tournament.

“I know all the seniors wanted to play their last game here on their home field, and so it was definitely an exciting feeling once we got to run out on the field after the last PK to know that we’re going to host regions,” Horn said.

Maggie Gnann, Abigail Gnann and Bugg scored in the shootout for Boyle, and Rayna Wheeler connected for Lincoln.

“We were all just praying and holding hands and making sure everybody went in there and finished the ball hard,” Horn said.

All-Tournament Team
Jenna Akers, Danville; Payton Bugg, Boyle County; Payton Byrd, Lincoln County; Addie Cannon, Boyle County; Hannah Day, Garrard County; Abigail Gnann, Boyle County; Holly Helmers, Danville; Shelby Horn, Boyle County; Nancy Perez, Garrard County; Hallie Stafford, Lincoln County; Bailey Story, Lincoln County