South overwhelms Woodford in Senior Night win

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By Brad Stephens

CRESTWOOD – South Oldham took nearly two quarters to get dialed into its final postseason tune-up Wednesday night.


Once the Dragons did, they showed why they’ll be the No. 1 seed in next week’s District 4 Tournament.

South scored 14 of the game’s final 15 goals and beat Woodford County 19-7 on Senior Night at Dragon Stadium.

The Dragons broke a 6-6 tie with two goals in the last two minutes of the second quarter, then out-scored the Yellow Jackets 11-1 in the third and fourth quarters to get the win and finish the regular season 11-3. That record is the best in school history.

“I think they were enjoying their Senior Night and forgot to show up a little bit,” South coach Jim Murphy said of his team. “But we had a nice run going into halftime and took control going into the second half.

“Our defense was soft early. We started putting pressure on them… and took control.”

Woodford found success against the Dragon defense during a 12-minute stretch from the end of the first quarter to the end of the second. The Yellow Jackets scored three goals during that period, with Declan Keegan scoring three.

Keegan’s third gave Woodford a 6-5 lead with 2:55 left.

“We weren’t focused at the start,” senior defender Nick Fowler said. “…We played a lot better man (in the second half) and we hustled a lot harder and we shut them down pretty quick.”

Dragon senior Mason Barnes tied the game at 6-6 with a backhand goal with 2:17 to play in the second. Goals over the next minute from seniors Kevin Leskody and Tyler Nieto gave South an 8-6 halftime lead.

A Jack Gifford fast-break goal less than a minute into the second half made the score 9-6.

“It’s probably the most balance we’ve ever had,” Nieto said of the Dragon attack. “And most of our offense is seniors.”

Fowler got in on the action 2 1/2 minutes into the quarter, running down the middle of the field and scoring a rare goal.

“Normally whenever I cross midfield I like to be selfish and try to get that goal,” he said. “It was just kind of lucky… I’m slow, but somehow they didn’t get the ball from me. It was fun.”

A Myish McShane goal made the Dragon lead 11-6 heading into the fourth.

South squashed any Woodford comeback hopes with eight fourth-quarter goals. The Dragons stayed on offense the majority of the final 12 minutes because Nieto was winning face-off after face-off, Murphy said.

“Possessions in lacrosse are what makes the difference,” Murphy said. “Winning the groundball battle, winning the face-off battle is a huge step in winning games. Tyler was very important.”

Gifford finished with a team-high five goals for South. Nieto added three, while McShane and Leskody had two each.

“It was nerve-racking at the start because we were down,” Fowler said. ‘But we pulled it together, so it’s good to end like this.

“I’m glad all the seniors got their goals. We played well in the end.”

South has more than a week before it plays in the district title game May 8 in Buckner. The Dragons will play the winner of Tuesday’s North Oldham vs. Oldham County game.

South will have plenty of time to prepare for that one. But Wednesday’s win was a celebration of a senior class that’s had one of the best years in school history.

“They work hard, are great to their teammates, are super to the younger players… They’re a fantastic group of young men,” Murphy said. “I’m going to miss them.”