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BUCKNER – Oldham County was in danger of doing something in its season opener Wednesday that it didn’t do until the state semifinals one year ago – losing a game.
But trailing Mercy 2-0 in the second half on their home field, the Lady Colonels took over.
Sabrym Kapp scored two goals and Bethany Massey tallied a goal and two assists as OC beat the Jaguars 3-2 in a season-opening win.
Wednesday’s match was the first of four Bluegrass Cup games the Lady Colonels were scheduled to host last week. Games against Campbell County, Male and Elizabethtown were all scheduled to be played after the Era’s press deadline.
OC’s win against Mercy, last year’s Region 6 champion, was a tense way to start its season.
The Lady Colonels fell behind 2-0 in the first half before rallying for the win.
“The first game, first day of school, it’s always a little antsy,” coach Dan Schulz said. “We just came out and were a little bit overexcited and a little bit tired from today.
“So we played five minutes of over-exertion and we played ten minutes lazy. Then we settled into our game.”
Mercy, which had already played a game Aug. 18, produced the majority of early chances.
The Jaguars took six of the game’s first seven shots, finally scoring on a Kelsey Sherrard shot twelve minutes into the first half.
The Lady Colonels settled in after that and started producing some more chances, but an own goal went in off an OC defender to make the score 2-0 late in the half.
Losing their first game one season after going 23-1-1 wasn’t an appealing thought, Massey said.
“We thought of last season and how strong of a team we were,” she said. “We wanted to bring that energy.”
OC came out of halftime as the more aggressive team, nearly scoring on a Kapp attempt from a tough angle from the left side of the goal.
The Lady Colonels finally broke through with 30:49 left in the game. Senior Allie Houk whipped a cross from the right wing into the box for Massey.
The Jaguar keeper reached up and tipped the ball. Massey adjusted her position, went up and headed the ball home for OC’s first goal of the 2014 season.
“When she crossed it I didn’t know I was going to head it,” Massey said. “I almost hand balled it but I was able to get it.”
Massey played a big part in tying the game two-and-a-half minutes later. She got the ball in front of the goal box and touched it over to Kapp who was coming down the left side.
Kapp sent a hard shot into the back of the net to tie the game at 2-2.
“Bethany’s been impressive for three years,” Schulz said of Massey. “She’s just getting a chance to show it a little more, being in the middle of the field a little bit more.
“She’s just a real smart player with good control, very smart for her size and able to hold defenders off. She’s doing a great job for us.”
Kapp left the game with leg cramps with 24:16 to play. She came back 13 minutes later.
With seven minutes left, Massey broke toward the goal. The Mercy goalkeeper ran out and slid toward Massey, who sent a shot in.
The ball deflected into the air and went toward the now-empty net. Kapp was there to push it in and give OC a 3-2 lead, its first advantage of the night.
“It’s our tournament, we wanted to win,” Kapp said. “So we had to get this win tonight.”
The win was a showcase for the new-look Lady Colonels, who are trying to get back to the state tournament after losing all-state performers and current Division I players Shelby Cohen (University of Louisville), Haley Kemper (Eastern Kentucky) and Karigan Owens (Tennessee Tech).
But OC has a big group of returning starters from that team, including Massey, Houk, Kelsey Daley, Caylie Surrena and goalkeeper Caitlyn Mason, who all found a way to come back Wednesday and win.
“You come off a season like that and you lose some good players and you wonder, ‘Can you duplicate that?’” Schulz said. “I think the girls are starting to understand that we are a good team. We’re a very solid team.”
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