October 20th, 2018

Jaguars fall to Bullitt East in regional final

Dalton Pence 

Staff Writer 

Jaguars fall to Bullitt East in regional final
Mercy and Bullitt East / photo by Dalton Pence

Bullitt East took down Mercy 2-0 to claim the Sixth Region girls’ soccer title Friday night. The Lady Chargers used a second half surge to come out victorious, marking their third win over Mercy this season.

“Overall, for us to come out and defend and say a lot of people counted us out, probably a couple rounds ago”, Mercy head coach Lora Gralheer said, “I’m very proud of my kids’ effort.”

A rainy first half saw little action as both teams traded throw-ins and goal-kicks. The two teams combined for a total of just three shots in the first 40 minutes. Perhaps the biggest opportunity came with 18:39 left in the half when Mercy senior Hannah Funke drove a 25-yard free kick that goalkeeper Addison Pruitt was able to save. The teams were deadlocked at zero as the halftime whistle sounded.

The beginning of the second half was more of the same as both teams continue to trade empty possessions. However, Bullitt East sent waves of attack that Mercy was able to subdue for the first 20 minutes of the half.

The tide turned when Emma Wright’s shot off a corner kick found its way into the back of the net with 19:43 to play, putting the Lady Chargers up 1-0. The 24th district champions doubled their lead when a ball that was played through the box found the foot of Bailey Chitwood with 6:26 remaining.

Mercy was unable to equalize and Bullitt East ended the drought and claimed the regional title.

Gralheer was impressed by how Mercy went out and played hard for 80 minutes, but noted the reality of the loss. She said, “regional finals are tough. I think there are times that bounces go your way and bounces don’t. We were on the tough side of two of them.”

Regardless of the outcome, senior goalkeeper Mikayla Miller was able to return for the Jaguars tonight and she did not disappoint. Having spent a good portion of her season battling a conclusion, Miller recorded a game-high nine saves. Gralheer raved about how Miller and the rest of the senior class stepped up this season and handled adversity.

“I can applaud the entire group…with understanding their role is much, much more than what they provide on the field”, Gralheer said. “For her (Miller) to understand that sometimes your role has to take a different shape and form, is a great sign of maturity and that we had a pretty special group of seniors.”

On the opposite side of Miller, Bullitt East goalkeeper recorded three saves. Her team overall tallied six shots (three on target), to go along with four corner kicks. Mercy had three shots (two on target) and one corner kick.

Bullitt East will advance to the KHSAA state tournament and play Bethlehem on Monday in the first round.


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