November 2nd, 2017

SHA falls to West Jessamine in PKs

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

SHA falls to West Jessamine in PKs
photo by Conor Revell

LEXINGTON, Ky. - When a soccer game comes down to penalty-kicks, it’s a coin flip, and sometimes the ball doesn’t roll your way as Sacred Heart found out in the state semifinals Thursday night.

West Jessamine won 6-5 in PKs to defeat the Valkyries 2-1 to advance to Saturday’s state championship game and a chance to defend their state title.

“Before PKs, I told my girls that I love them,” Sacred Heart head coach Jaclyn Puntillo said. “Nobody is prouder to be their coach than I am. I don’t think their is a prouder coach of any team anywhere. That’s a very special group of girls and I know it didn’t end the way we wanted it to.

“But that doesn’t take away from the last five years. What those seniors did for this program, you look at them, it doesn’t matter if they played 90 or no minutes, they’re all just as torn up as anyone because this is a family and a team. Being their coach was the greatest honor.”

Cassie Amshoff, Anna Buse, Lauren Payne, Brielle Heuglin, and Kiley Polk made their PKs for Sacred Heart (22-3). Morgan Pence, Hailey Cole, Saraya Young, Delaney Long, and Sophie Bish of West Jessamine (21-2-4) made their PKs.

West Jessamine’s Annie Rexford then stopped Regan Nolan’s shot while Edie Meyer blasted the ball past Sacred Heart goalkeeper Eliza Kelly. The Colts then erupted into a frenzy.

“Oh my gosh,” West Jessamine head coach Kevin Wright said. “Her instinct, mental ability, she’s just a winner. She’s so confident. She has some quiet swag. She’s not cocky and she said enough is enough, and stepped up.”

Amshoff put the Valkyries up 1-0 with 7:43 remaining in the first half when she received a pass from Ashley Durik, ran five yards, tapped the ball lightly from the left side of the box, and it rolled past West Jessamine goalkeeper Anna Rexford and just across the line.

“We came out with a lot of nerves and had to weather them during the first 20 minutes,” Puntillo said. “I think some things didn’t go our way in the box. West Jess is a good team and these are the defending champions from 2015 and 16. It’s going to be a great game and it’s a shame that it was in the semis because I think it was the best game out of all of the tournament.”

Morgan Pence didn’t tie it up until she scored off an assist from Hailey Cole with just 7:56 to play.

“She gave it up, Hailey got it, and then she kind of did a curl,” Wright said. “And then she went against the paint and buried it. It was an awesome shot.”

The game was still tied after regulation and it was stilled tied after two five minute overtimes. And, the Colts won on the first sudden death penalty kick.

Sacred Heart fired nine shots, Rexford made four saves for the Colts.

“They have a good team,” Wright said. “They’re strong, they have multiple kids going to Louisville. That’s a heck of a program. They have won multiple state championships. We just had to fight to the bitter end. So many teams would have quit against them at halftime. For us to tie it at the end of the game, that was awesome.”

West Jessamine blasted 10 shots, Kelly made three saves.

The Colts will play Notre Dame in the state championship game at Lafayette at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Sacred Heart says goodbye to four seniors.

“Those seniors worked harder for me than any kids I have ever had,” Puntillo said. “Sacred Heart was their life. For a lot of them, this isn’t the end, Cassie and Kiley will play at U of L, and Ashley Brangers is going to Centre.

“For Lexie (Wagner) this is the end of the road. She and I have already talked. She said ‘Coach P, what do I do in college to stay in shape.’ Those girls are going to do something in this world regardless if it’s on the soccer field and country. I have had the best job in the country and whoever gets this job after me is going to be very lucky.”

It was also Puntillo’s final game, she led the Valkyries to five Seventh Region titles in five years as head coach, one state championship, one state runner-up finish, four semifinal appearances, and quarterfinal appearance. She was also an assistant coach for four years before being promot


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