GIRLS’ STATE SOCCER: Lady Bruins head back to South Oldham

Central Hardin’s Morgan Burba looks to play a ball up the field during the 5th Region Tournament. The Lady Bruins play South Oldham at Carroll County High School at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

It will have been two months and a day since Central Hardin played South Oldham.

It was a 5-1 Lady Dragons victory and Lady Bruins first-year coach Chris Wilk said that game means absolutely nothing right now.

“No, it doesn’t,” he said. “It was a long trip, the third or fourth game of the season and we were still trying to figure stuff out. We let in two or three weak goals, one 14 seconds in.”

The teams meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Carroll County High School in the Girls’ State Soccer Tournament.

“With the game plan we have going in, it’s going to be a competitive game,” Wilk said.

The Lady Bruins won the 5th Region Tournament, 3-2 over Bethlehem in the second overtime when freshman Haylie Panter buried a penalty kick.

That PK was set up because of the speed of senior Brittney Music, who leads the squad with 34 goals and 20 assists.

She had no goals through the first four games of the season as Central Hardin (16-8-2) started 1-3.

“Honestly, we worked on a couple key things for her — 1v1 in general and how she can attack space or attack the person, depending on who it is,” Wilk said. “She has to judge when the best time to do either and she’s gotten pretty good at it.”

Music has scored 14 goals in the last six games as the Lady Bruins went 4-1-1.

“I really didn’t know what to expect when I took over,” Wilk said. “People were telling me that we lost a lot and we lost Brentyn (Dodd), who is a stud in everything she does. When I got here, I saw the players who we had coming back, and I knew they played club and the clubs they played for and saw their skill level and I kind of thought we were going to be in better shape than what people were telling me.

Senior Brooke Norton has 16 goals and 12 assists. Wilk moved her to the back line in the region semifinal and final.

“Brooke is extremely versatile and at the next level you have to be good at everything and specialize in one thing,” Wilk said. “She’s good at everything.”

Panter has 14 goals and 21 assists, and fellow freshman Taylor Eidson 10 goals and seven assists.

“That have done so much more than I expected,” Wilk said of the duo. “They are playing against girls who will be signing DI scholarships and the fact that they are winning games against them is insane.”

South Oldham, the 8th Region champion, has a pretty balanced scoring attack.

It is led by Hannah Longstreet’s 14 goals and 11 assists. Brooke Dardano has nine goals and 22 assists, Marley Kahle 12 goals and five assists and Ava Robertson and Clara Spurlock each have 11 goals and three assists,

“They do not have a power two or a power three, but they are solid across the board,” Wilk said. “They like to play through balls and make hard runs. We have to cut off their gaps and not get split on defense.

“We have to pressure them offensively.”

Lady Dragons keeper Ellie Wilson has made 96 saves in 21 games.

Their defense is rather stingy, having not allowed more than two goals in any game. They allowed one goal during the 8th Region Tournament.

“They’re quick and extremely fast,” Wilk said. “We have to counter and go hard.”

Central Hardin’s defense has also done a great job developing and changing schemes.

“We played a combination flat four and transitioned into our diamond,” Wilk said. “The work rate they have given from the start to now has been phenomenal. Our defense has improved just as much as our offense.”

Mike Mathison can be reached at 270-505-1758 or mmathison@thenewsenterprise.com.

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