Coming off one of their toughest losses in program history, there were some questions as to how University Heights Academy would respond in their region tournament opener. The Blazers answered the call with a 3-1 win over Trigg County Monday at Henderson County High School.
UHA let a 4-1 second half lead slip away last week in the district championship against Hopkinsville, who scored an overtime goal to beat the Blazers.
Monday, the Blazers jumped out to a 3-0 lead and was able to finish against a Trigg County squad that scored late to force a 2-2 tie in their regular season matchup last month in Cadiz. This time, UHA would finish the game strong and pick up their first region tourney win since 2013.
The Blazers generated more scoring chances in the first half than Trigg, outshooting the Wildcats 11-3. However, neither team scored for the first 39 minutes. The Blazers got on the scoreboard first when Will Bryan moved left of goal and fired one into the left corner.
Trigg County appeared to tie the game in the first two minutes, but Mason Price made a good kick save off a Wildcat shot to keep the Blazers ahead 1-0.
UHA took a 2-0 lead with 23:52 left in the game when Tanner Thomas crossed a pass to Connor Dill who finished it for the goal.
Six of Trigg County’s nine shots came in the second half, but the Wildcats didn’t get many good looks as the Blazers dropped a fourth defender to take away Trigg’s angles.
The Blazers took a commanding 3-0 lead when Thomas fired a free kick from 40 yards away that hit the cross bar and caromed in front. Bryan headed the shot in for his second goal of the game.
Trigg answered 34 seconds later when Clayton Setliff used his left foot to score into the left side of the net. Trigg had one other good look in front of the net but could not convert.
UHA outshot Trigg 20-9 in the contest. Matthew Smith had 10 saves in goal for the Wildcats. Will Maxwell didn’t see much action and made four saves.
Trigg County’s season ends with a record of 14-4-2. University Heights, who avenged a 3-2 loss to Trigg County in last year’s region quarterfinals, improves to 14-7-1. They will play Madisonville Wednesday at 6pm in the first semifinal.
Dalton Daves had the hat trick, and Caden Crowell added two goals as Madisonville beat Webster County 10-0 in the first quarterfinal that ended with 11:29 left due to the mercy rule.
Since the KHSAA realigned soccer teams to match basketball and baseball regions, Madisonville has advanced to the semifinals each year. The Maroons beat UHA 5-0 on Sept. 7 and have won nine straight against the Blazers dating back to 2004.
On Tuesday, Henderson County hosts Lyon County at 6pm, and Hopkinsville plays Hopkins County Central at 8pm in the other quarterfinals.