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Lady Braves fall in regional semi-finals

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By Ryan Naus

The Grant County girls’ soccer team were hoping to take another step forward in their historic season.

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In the program’s first regional tournament appearance, their season came to an end with a 7-1 loss to eventual region champ Bourbon County on Oct. 20.

“The score was a little humbling,” coach Melinda White said. “Making it to the region tournament meant the world to us. Regardless of the score at the end of the game, the girls still made history.”

“We all worked hard to make it to regionals,” junior Becca Saylor said. “We’ve come far as a team this season.”

The Lady Braves hadn’t played against Bourbon County during the regular season, but saw them play Owen County in the championship of the Dry Ridge Toyota Invitational Cup on Sept. 19. Bourbon County came away with a dominant 8-0 win, so Grant County knew they were in for a challenge when the teams faced off.

“We knew what we were facing and what to expect,” White said. “We knew who to mark and wanted to keep it tight, but it didn’t end up working out that way. But we’re grateful we made it as far as we did. We saw the next step we need to take.”

Bourbon County jumped out to an early lead, scoring a goal in the first 10 minutes. They followed with three more goals in the first half to take a 4-0 lead into halftime. Following a fifth goal, Grant County got on the scoreboard as senior Renee Vincent scored the Lady Braves’ lone goal.

“Their sweeper was always in position for the ball and I told Renee if she wanted to score, she would have to be on her like she was marking her defensively,” White said. “She marked her, did a little cut and scored.”

Saylor was named to the region all-tournament team.

“Whoever they sent in, Becca cut off,” White said. “She did an amazing job of what we had practiced all week, which was to be patient and pressure the opposing player.”

Six seniors will graduate from this team, but White believes the strides the team made this season will continue to pay dividends in the future.

“We learned the importance of communication and how important the basics are,” Saylor said. “We lose a lot of talented seniors, but we should continue to be just as good.”

“We spent a whole season building up to regions and that skill level,” White said. “Now, we get to build upon that. We’ve become a competitive sport and we’re ready to compete. The seniors who are leaving left a legacy. The girls returning are making an impact and paving the way for the future. It’s a bright, bright future.”