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Entering post-season play on a four-game losing streak against an opponent on a four-game winning streak, Grant County girls’ soccer coach Ron Maddox knew his Lady Braves would have to play at their highest level to survive.
And that’s exactly what they did.
Grant County got outstanding play from all corners of the field in a thrilling 1-0 victory over Walton-Verona in first-round action of the District 32 Tournament Monday at Simon Kenton High School.
The win advances the Lady Braves to the championship game on Oct. 16 and guarantees them a spot in the regional tournament next week.
“It was an awesome game. I loved it,” said Maddox after Monday’s win. “The girls worked together as a team and made the plays when they needed to. The biggest thing was the girls controlled the ball. They owned the field. They did everything they needed to do to win this game.”
Locked in a scoreless tie at the half, Grant County came out firing in the second half and got it’s goal from Molly Pelfrey on an assist from Natasha Hornsby.
“The girls really turned it on in the second half,” said Maddox. “Not that they weren’t turned on in the first half. They were on fire the whole night.”
Pelfrey’s goal was not an easy one. In fact, Maddox gave several Lady Braves credit for the game-winning goal.
“Molly is one of the most passionate players you’ll ever find in the game,” said Maddox. “She played her game. She was on her game all night. But this wasn’t a one person effort. It was a total team effort. Everybody worked together. Molly just happen to benefit from great team play with the game-winning goal.”
A driving force to do well in Wednesday’s championship game is the opportunity for the Grant County seniors to get to play on their home field one last time. If the Lady Braves win the championship they will enter the regional tournament as a host. Meanwhile, if Grant County loses to Simon Kenton in the title game, the Lady Braves will be on the road for the regional tournament.
The key, according to Maddox, is to play exactly the same way they did versus Walton-Verona.
“If we play like we did vs Walton, there’s not too many teams out there going to be able to beat us,” said the Grant County coach
Against Simon Kenton, Grant County will be facing a team that beat the Lady Braves 4-0 earlier this season at Simon Kenton. But the Lady Braves are older, wiser and more experienced this time around, a factor that Maddox hopes will play a role for his team.
“Simon Kenton is a big school. They have a deep bench and that was the difference the first time,” commented Maddox. “We just need to go in and play with the same intensity for 80 minutes that we played with against Walton-Verona. If we do that, we’ve got a good shot.”
Championship game time is set for 6 p.m. Oct. 16 at Simon Kenton.