Ben Dempsey’s Henderson County Lady Colonel soccer squads are usually rife with upperclassmen, but 2023’s roster features only three seniors.
It was one of those seniors that was the difference in Henderson County’s 4-2 quarterfinal win over Hopkins County Central Monday.
Ashton Lynam scored all four of Henderson’s goals, including two in the first eight minutes that staked the Lady Colonels to the early lead.
“We take pride in our speed of play, and it’s something we really take pride in. We felt like it was something we could take advantage of early in the game,” Dempsey said.
Lynam scored on the game’s first shot in the third minute. She added another goal from the left side five minutes later for the quick 2-0 lead.
Hopkins County Central didn’t get a shot off until the nine-minute mark but stepped up its defense for the remainder of the half. Despite getting outshot 7-3 in the first half, Hopkins Central kept Henderson off of the board for the final 32 minutes of the half.
Lynam scored a minute inside the second half to up Henderson’s lead to 3-0.
That margin stood up until the 72nd minute when freshman Emma Vandiver scored on a through ball to get Hopkins County Central on the board.
The Storm added another goal four minutes later when Destiny Caudill booted home a free kick from the top of the box.
“I feel like we just had to see one go in,” said Hopkins Central coach Ben Lutz. “We kind of struggle to score anyway. When we see one go in, you have hope and that’s all you need sometimes is hope.”
A handball in the box with two minutes left allowed Lynam to knock home a penalty kick for her fourth goal of the night and the final 4-2 score.
Lynam has 135 career goals and is second on the school’s scoring list behind Maddie Griggs (217).
“We have a really good goal scorer in Lynam so when you take her out of games, a lot of teams go from man-marking to then putting people further up the field and I think that kind of hurt us for a couple minutes,” Dempsey said after Henderson County improved to 19-0-1 all-time against Hopkins Central.
For the Lady Storm, their season ends with a 7-13 record.
“We have a pretty young roster. We’re losing three seniors, and we’ve played a pretty tough schedule,” Lutz said “We had a couple of region champions and region runners-up added to the schedule this year, so it’s all about making sure they’re battle-tested and hopefully we can be the ones moving on next year.”
Henderson County improves to 11-8 and moves into Wednesday’s semifinal against Trigg County in a rematch of last year’s region championship game won by the Lady Colonels 6-0.
“We need to do a better job as a group of winning those first balls. I felt like there’s a couple of bouncing balls that led to led to really good chances,” Dempsey said. “You know those kinds of things are avoidable, but we’ve also said this all year We’re starting four freshmen out of our back five and a first-year goalkeeper So there’s going to be pains that come with that. We’re just happy moving on.”