University Heights Academy has had its fair share of good sports teams through the years. Whether it be a KHSAA State Basketball Championship or an All "A" Classic Championship, the tradition runs deep.

But on Tuesday night, the Lady Blazers did something that's never been done in school history.

For the first time ever, a UHA team won four straight district championships, and that team was the University Heights Academy Lady Blazers as they beat Hopkinsville in penalty kicks for the 8th District Tournament Championship at the Stadium of Champions.

UHA coach Michael Parker said his girls knew the plan going into the game.

"When we played them earlier in the season, we were the dominant team," he said. "It was a 1-0 victory but we had all the possession. We just had to play our own game. We couldn't worry about what they'd done. We had to focus on what we done and if we took care of our business, I thought we'd be fine."

The Lady Blazers have had some lopsided results in recent years against district foes, but Parker said Tuesday wouldn't be like that.

"I knew it was going to be a battle," he said. "Even the teams we lopsided, it was still a battle. I've never seen Hopkinsville play a game here where they haven't battled for 80 minutes so it was always going to be a fight."

It took more than 90 minutes of soccer and penalty kicks to decide a winner as a 1-1 draw at the end of regulation wasn't enough time to determine who runs the city of Hopkinsville.

UHA's Molly Bennett stepped up to the PK line with the victory hanging in the balance and Bennett buried it.

"I was just thinking I have to be confident in my shot," she said. "I can't worry. I have to pick a corner and I can't hesitate. Don't look at the corner you're going to shoot at either."

Neither team could find the back of the net until Hoptown struck in the opening half.

With 15:27 left in the first half, Hopkinsville's Keeli Miles found the back of the net to give the Lady Tigers an advantage they would take into the half.

But just as the game was getting started in the second half, UHA's Grace Pape did what Grace Pape does.

Pape found space and left no doubt as got it by Vy Nguyen to tie the game at 1-1.

"The minute that happened, it was like the energy changed," Parker said. "We had about a 20-minute spell where I thought we'd get a second and a third but it never happened. Hopkinsville came back that last 10 minutes where we went into a lull. We were a goal down a lot of times and we didn't panic."

It wouldn't be until penalty kicks that either team saw the ball go into the back of the net.

Bennett said the Lady Blazers have one thing that keeps them together this season.

"Our strength is our bond," she said. "We're super close. We hang out before games, we hang out when we don't have games, during practice. Our goal is positivity."

Parker said his four seniors have been vital this season.

"They come in every day and they continue to work hard," he said. "They don't mind letting Grace take a lot of the credit for the goals. They just put in the hard work and the senior class has been a phenomenal group to coach, they really have."

Hoptown coach Jeff Addison said he wanted his team to compete and gives themselves a chance to win and they did just that.

"I'm overjoyed that we put ourselves in a position to be successful," he said. "There were some games this season we wouldn't do that. Tonight we did everything we could to give ourselves a chance to win. I'm just pleased with that."

UHA and Hopkinsville now await Thursday's draw to see who each team will face in next week's 2nd Region Tournament at the Stadium of Champions.

UHA 2, Hopkinsville 1

UHA 0 1 (4)--2

HHS 1 0 (2)--1

UHA: Grace Pape (goal)

HHS: Keeli Miles (goal)


Info Box- Box this

Header: All-8th District Girl's Soccer Team

Piper Hancock, UHA

Abby Moss, HHS

Autumn Bell, CCHS

Ashlyn Parker, UHA

Anna King, HHS

Keeli Miles, HHS

Emily Hancock, UHA

Vy Nguyen, HHS

Grace Pape, UHA

Lainey Burman, UHA

Alexis Cantrell, UHA

Kaitlyn Cervantes, FCHS

Hannah Eastes, FCHS

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.