Shot after blistering shot, University Heights Academy took its best crack at Henderson County in Thursday’s girls’ 2nd Region Soccer Championship.
In the end, however, it wasn’t enough for the Lady Blazers to avoid having their season halted by the Colonels for the fifth time in six years, as UHA dropped a 2-1 heartbreaker at Stadium of Champions.
Heights, which was seeking its first regional crown since 2008, and hadn’t finished within a goal of Henderson since a 1-1 draw on Sept. 24, 2013, used a ferocious onslaught in the second half, creating ample opportunities toward the goal.
HCHS managed to stave off the rally, though, and the Lady Colonels were able to celebrate their fourth straight regional title and return to the state tournament after Grace Pape’s corner kick bounced off the crossbar just before the final whistle.
“The effort tonight was as good as it’s been all season,” said UHA coach Michael Parker. “We asked them to lay it all on the line, and just match Henderson’s intensity, and I think we’ve done that tonight. I don’t know that we could have done any more or played any better.”
After falling behind 2-0 in the first 15 minutes of Thursday’s tilt in Hopkinsville, the Lady Blazers found a glimmer of hope when Pape’s curving corner kick managed to loop into the goal, cutting Henderson County’s lead in half in the 19th minute.
Trailing by that same 2-1 margin at halftime, UHA appeared poised to carry that momentum into a game-tying goal, but the shots wouldn’t fall and the goalposts were no ally, turning away the Blazers on several occasions during a period when Henderson had no answer.
“We’ve played them close before, but tonight is the first night that I’ve seen (Henderson), for about a 20-minute spell, they were rattled. First time I’ve ever seen Henderson turn and kick the ball wherever they could,” Parker shared. “If that’s something that we forced them into, I applaud the girls.”