VERSAILLES – Franklin County girls soccer coach Louis Tandy had little idea what to expect from his team going into Tuesday’s district tournament match against rival Western Hills.
That fact was just one of several reasons why Tandy and his Lady Flyers were thrilled to pull away to a 5-0 victory over the Lady Wolverines at Woodford County Park.
Franklin County moves on at 11-8-1 to play top-seeded Woodford Thursday night at 6 for the district championship.
Both teams advance to regional tournament play next week.
This will be the Lady Flyers’ first regional tournament berth since 2006.
“We’ve been up and down,” Tandy said. “We played Henry Clay on Wednesday and just really played well (winning 2-0), and then we played East Jessamine on Saturday and played terrible (losing 3-2). So you never know.
“Tonight, they came out, and while it wasn’t our best game, it was a solid performance.”
Freshman Dasia Kilbourne came up big on the big stage for Franklin County, scoring three goals. She worked much of the time with senior Lauren Taylor and sophomore Emily Wilkerson, though the cast of characters contributing to this win were many.
“As the season has gone on, she has gotten stronger,” Tandy said of Kilbourne. “We didn’t have Deena Shewakah – she has a bad ankle – so we put Lauren back more in the middle, but she and Dasia were strong together. Even when they weren’t scoring, they were working a lot off each other.”
“Lauren always gives us a lot of energy and tells us what to do,” Kilbourne said of Taylor who added a score and also contributed in the assist column. “She doesn’t yell, but she gives us advice and helps make us better. She’s such a good team player.
“We were making a lot of runs, and Lauren and I really worked well together.”
Taylor scored the lone goal of the first half, knocking a shot home with 32:32 left in the half.
That left Franklin County with a precarious 1-0 edge at intermission.
“Our girls were ready to win it after a half,” said Western Hills coach Alisha Wildermuth, whose team finished the season 5-8-4. “I thought our heads were in the game, but it just didn’t click, apparently.”
Kilbourne took over early in the second half for the Lady Flyers, scoring all three of her goals in a five-minute span, between the 35-minute mark and 30-minute mark of that period.
“Dasia scored those three goals when we really needed them,” Tandy said. “And Lauren really jumped in there and played really hard. I mean, everybody played well. Emily Wilkerson had a good game. She really helped with Dasia. She had a couple of assists, too.”
Franklin County finished the scoring on a penalty kick by senior Sydney Preston with 2:34 to go.
Western Hills’ best scoring opportunity came with some 19:42 to go in the match when sophomore Maria Conway made a terrific crossing pass to junior Hayley Greenwell, but Greenwell’s shot was just high.
Senior Megan Gearhart was in goal for the Lady Flyers, while sophomore MacKenzie Jones was in goal for WHHS.
Tandy said he and his players are excited to have a shot at host Woodford County on Thursday.
“I’m very excited to be playing for the district championship against Woodford, and I will even more if we beat them,” Tandy said. “I don’t think Franklin County soccer has ever beaten Woodford County, and they’ve never won district, either.”
Franklin County lost, 1-0, to the Lady Yellowjackets in their only other meeting this season, on Sept. 26.
Wildermuth, meanwhile, was left wondering what might have been for her Lady Wolverines.
“I think our girls were capable of much more, and it’s kind of unfortunate you didn’t see it tonight,” Wildermuth said. “I think our team can definitely match them.”