Central Hardin girls’ soccer coach Justin Maddock knew his team would have to bring it’s A game if they wanted a chance against Bethlehem in the 5th Region Tournament semifinals. From his perspective, the effort was nothing short of spectacular.
Taking on the Banshees at Elizabethtown High School, the Lady Bruins fought through a pair of overtime periods before their season ended in a 4-3 loss on penalty kicks to last year’s 5th Region runner-up.
“It’s just amazing. I’m more than proud of them. I don’t think I’ve ever been this emotional after a game,” Maddock said. “They did everything I asked. They bought in to everything I asked. I don’t think there was anything that we were lacking, from our bench attitude and from on-the-field attitude, it was amazing. At no point did I feel we were out of it. I really felt like we were putting it on them. Sometimes it just doesn’t go our way and it just really sucks that it didn’t, because the girls put in so much effort tonight and all season.”
Taylor Eidson got it started for Central Hardin when she kicked a shot into the back of the net from 35 yards out to put the Lady Bruins up 1-0 with 32:43 left in the first half. Bethlehem responded with a goal from Ashlyn Miles with 18:56 until halftime and another from Carlie Thurmond just under nine minutes later to put the Banshees ahead.
This advantage wouldn’t last through the first half’s conclusion. With 40 seconds to go until the break, Eidson picked up her second goal of the night to make it a 2-2 game ahead of the second half.
The Banshees struck first when play resumed, scoring off Thurmond’s second goal to make it a 3-2 game with 29:04 left in regulation.
With time of the essence and the season on the line, Haylie Panter kept a win possible for the Lady Bruins by scoring the equalizer with 4:23 on the clock. Neither team responded before time ran out, sending the game into overtime.
After two overtime periods and no score, the game advanced to a penalty kick shootout. A pair of misses cost Central Hardin, while Bethlehem didn’t miss to seal the semifinal victory.
In addition to Eidson and Panter’s goals, McKenna Johnson and Audra Disselkamp were both credited with one assist each. In the net, Liz Craft finished with three saves.
Following the game, Eidson and Morgan Covey were named to the 5th Region Tournament All-Tournament team.
The loss ended Central Hardin’s season with a 10-11-1 overall record and an 8-6 record against region opponents.
“It just sets the tone of what this program continues to do. They’re just gonna continue to build, we’re gonna continue to fight,” Maddock said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that if we continue to build with this type of energy that we’re always gonna be in that fight to move on in districts, regions and State. That’s the tone that we’ve been trying to set the past three years and we’re there. That’s the effort that the seniors led tonight, along with the girls that have had the experience and I think with the young players we have, I think that’s a good foot forward.”
Matt Tyson can be reached at 270-505-1425 or email@example.com.