Boyle boys fall in region final

Published 8:15 am Friday, October 15, 2021

SOMERSET — The Boyle County boys could score on pretty much anybody. Until they couldn’t.

The most prolific offensive team in the 12th Region boys soccer came up empty at the worst possible time, going scoreless for the first time in two years in the regional championship.

The Rebels were shut out for the first time in two years, falling 2-0 to Somerset on Thursday night in the 12th Region Tournament final at Clara Morrow Field.

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Boyle was unable to complete its run to a second straight regional title because it was unable to get anything through a compact Somerset defense designed to limit the success of a team that figured to have a decided edge in possession.

“We’ve struggled in the past when teams know that we’re better than them on possession,” Boyle coach Ty Short said. “They pack it into the box and it makes it really hard for us to gain possession in that offensive third, and that’s what we struggled with tonight. We just couldn’t find a goal.”

That hadn’t happened in a while. Boyle (13-5-2) had the longest streak of games without being shut out in the 12th Region, a run of 40 games since a 6-0 loss to Danville in the 2019 45th District final.

This year’s Rebels had scored more goals than any other team in the region — 76 for an average of 4.0 per game entering Thursday.

Win, lose or draw, they had always been able to put the ball in the net. And Short was confident they would do so again Thursday, even as host Somerset (11-5-1) packed its players into the penalty area in response to nearly every Boyle attack.

“There was no point during the game that I was like, ‘Oh, we’re not going to score,’” Short said. “These guys just did a really good job of clearing the ball every time it came back. It’s hard to score on somebody with that many numbers in the box.”

Boyle had become a comeback team in recent days, coming from behind to win two of its previous three postseason games.

The Rebels rallied from a 3-1 deficit to defeat Danville 6-3 in the 45th District final last week, and they erased a 1-0 deficit to defeat West Jessamine 3-2 on Wednesday in the regional semifinals. And Short said he and his players were confident they could rally again after Somerset took a 1-0 lead just before halftime, and even after the Briar Jumpers went up 2-0.

“I never had any doubts, but it just wasn’t there tonight,” Short said.

Boyle had 12 shots, including just six shots on goal, and a few of its attempts came agonizingly close to finding the net:
• Micah Brown’s shot in the 29th minute went off the crossbar.

• Andrew Leines’ header off a long free kick in the 66th minute grazed the left upright.

• Tristan Compton’s header just about a minute later was saved by Somerset goalkeeper Landon Lonesky.

• Leines’ shot in the 78th minute spun out of Lonesky’s hands but sailed over the crossbar.

However, Short said the bottom line was that the Rebels couldn’t get enough good scoring opportunities.

“Our guys played great. It’s not anything we did wrong. We just couldn’t find the chances,” he said. “I’m really proud of our seniors and our upperclassmen who tried to take control. I don’t think anybody ever put their head down. Nobody quit. We played the whole time.”

Somerset, which won its first regional title since 2001, seized the momentum near the end of a first half in which the teams combined for only seven shots. The Jumpers scored with 1:10 remaining when Chanler Edwards drew Boyle’s goalkeeper out and headed the ball past him from about 10 yards.

The Jumpers doubled their lead just over five minutes into the second half when Josh Tucker fired a free kick into the left side of the goal from 25 yards.

Boyle was making its 10th appearance in the regional finals — it is 5-5 in title games — and Short said he thinks the Rebels, who lose only four seniors, can make another run next season.

In their first season under Short, who was acting head coach during the 2020 postseason, the Rebels played a challenging schedule and overcame a 2-4 start to take a 13-game unbeaten streak into Thursday’s game.

“It was an enjoyable season,” he said.

All-12th Region Tournament Teams
(Area players)
Ryan Clarkson, Danville; Tristan Compton, Boyle County; A.J. Fluty, Boyle County; James Johnston, Mercer County; Judson Perry, Boyle County; Keegyn Wilcher, Danville.
Maddie Angel, Mercer County; Maggie Gnann, Boyle County; Ryleigh Sipe, Mercer County; Bailey Story, Lincoln County.