By Rick Capone
The Woodford Sun
The Madison Southern girls' soccer season came to an end at the hands of Woodford County High School in the first round of the 11th Region Girls' Soccer tournament on Monday night at Community Stadium in Versailles.
In a closely fought contest, the Yellow Jackets defeated the Lady Eagles 1-0 to end their season with a 17-4 overall record.
Meanwhile, Woodford County advanced to the 11th Region semifinals on Thursday with a 12-4-4 overall record. They the will face Tates Creek game at 6 p.m. at Community Stadium.
Tates Creek defeated Scott County, 4-1, in the second game of the region tournament at Community Stadium on Monday.
The game between Madison Southern and Woodford was a close all the way through. In the first half, both sides played solid defense and kept each other in check, mostly at midfield. Still, even with the tight defensive play, both teams did manage a few scoring opportunities.
For Madison Southern, its opportunities came during the middle of the half. On one play, sophomore Rachel Ramey hit a corner kick towards the front of the goal, but the Lady Eagles could not make a play out of it.
Then, a little later, sophomore Annie Ware got open for a shot, but it was thwarted by Woodford junior goalkeeper Stella Adams.
For the Lady Jackets, they had one opportunity early in the half, and then two more chances late in the half. All three times, they were stopped by Madison Southern's sophomore goalkeeper Kristyn Murphy, who played an outstanding game in net .
"I think Kristyn Murphy did a great job,” Madison Southern coach Katy Cress said. "She's played great all season for us. It's just something we've come to expect from her."
With the solid play of both defenses, it was no surprise to find the score tied 0-0 as the two teams headed into the locker room at the half.
In the second half, Woodford came out quickly and tried to take control of the game. Once again, the Lady Eagles’ defense kept them contained, but their offense just could not find an opening, as the Lady Jackets kept them in check.
"I don't think we came ready to play the second half," Cress said. "I think we were flat-footed. We weren't making the runs. We weren't possessing the ball the way we did in the first half, and they took it to us. We stood there and watched them."
It was at the 24:56 mark that Woodford finally found a crack in the Madison Southern defense and took advantage of it. On the play, Woodford senior L.J .Phelps threaded a pass over to junior Libby Wilhoit, who was running down the field.
Wilhoit received the pass without having to break stride and continued her charge down the middle of the field towards the Lady Eagles' goal, with two defenders catching up to her fast.
Then, right before one of the Madison Southern defenders could catch up to her, Wilhoit kicked the ball right past Murphy's outstretched hands and into the goal to give Woodford a 1-0 lead.
"During halftime, we just talked about how we should stay composed on the breakaways," Woodford's first-year head coach Nicole Markert said. "And, L.J. (Phelps) found Libby (Wilhoit) on a great through ball, and Libby stayed composed and found the front of the net."
All season long, when the Yellow Jackets had a lead in the second half, they've been able to control the ball and keep the other team from getting any scoring opportunities, which is exactly what they tried to do against the Lady Eagles.
For the most part, Woodford was able to do just that for the rest of the game. However, even with the Lady Jackets' strong defensive play Madison Southern did not quit and they worked hard to get a few more scoring opportunities in the game.
With 8:55 in the game, the Lady Eagles found themselves in the Woodford end of the field and had a chance for a shot, but the Lady Jacket defense put a halt to the attack. Then, just a short while later at the 8:10 mark, Madison Southern got another corner kick opportunity. Once again, Ramey took the corner kick, but it did not make it to the front of the net and the Lady Jackets broke up the play.
While both teams tried to press for a scoring opportunity down the stretch, neither team could find the back of the net.