A slow start and two “freak” goals put Franklin County behind East Jessamine 2-0 early in the first half.
As a result, the Lady Flyers fell 2-1 to East Jessamine Monday night at Sower Field, but FCHS coach Jon Sutphin said he wasn’t disappointed in his team.
“We started off slow and gave up two goals where we just didn’t cover the girls,” said Sutphin, who is in his first year as head coach of the Lady Flyers. “They were just freak shots for the ball to be that high above the goalie’s head. We just didn’t put pressure on the ball at the beginning, but you know what, I can’t say enough about my girls to be down 2-0 and the way they battled back.”
The match-up occurred just two days after Franklin County lost 4-0 to the Lady Jaguars in a scrimmage.
“I didn’t know what to expect from the girls coming out tonight, if they were just going to come in and think they couldn’t compete with them,” Sutphin said. “To be honest, I think this is the hardest I’ve ever seen them play all through the preseason getting to this first game.”
The Jaguars (1-0) got off to a quick start when junior midfielder Taylor Pence connected the ball with the back of the net over the top of sophomore goalkeeper Kerrigan Brown’s reach with 38:33 remaining in the first half.
East Jessamine increased its lead to 2-0 when junior McKayla Smith raced along the right side of the field and connected on a shot from 25 yards away with 16:37 left to play in the half.
Down two goals, Sutphin said he saw the Lady Flyers stay focused as senior Ashton Hall drove to the goal for a score with 13:17 to play.
“Emily Wilkerson played a great ball across the middle and Ashton sort of did what their players had been doing to us by getting the ball up and over the goalkeeper’s head,” Sutphin said. “One of those lob, chip-shots over the goalie’s head gave us our first goal of the season. That picked up our energy level for us.”
Sutphin said he felt the Lady Flyers controlled the first half, despite his daughter, Savannah Sutphin, exiting the game with 1:11 to play when she injured her ankle.
“I thought all my fullbacks played well, and Shelby (Sanders) and Savannah just played great,” Sutphin said, “and for Savannah to come back in the second half after injuring her ankle says a lot. She has been dealing with an ankle injury since our team camp at Morehead State. She tweaked it there. We got it wrapped and she was able to play the second half for us.”
The Lady Flyers (0-1) were inches away from tying the game as time expired in the first half when sophomore Kerry Taylor hit a ball just off target.
“Kerry Taylor was right there, just a little too strong and it goes off the crossbar,” Sutphin said.
Three minutes into the second half, Taylor had another near score that was saved by Jaguar goalie Alysa Hicks.
“The second half was a lot more evenly played,” Sutphin said. “We tried to move some players around. I know they wanted to win and some of them were upset when we were down at halftime. I told them not to get down and it is just one game.
“I said, ‘Yes, we want to win but let’s go out and do what we need to do.’ I thought they stepped up in the second half, but we just couldn’t put one in the back of the net like we needed to.”
First-time goalie Brown had two saves to keep the score at 2-1 as time expired.
“It’s probably her sixth time playing goalie ever,” Sutphin said. “Maybe a month from now she will get used to those balls that go over her head, but I think she has some inexperience there. If I can get her to stay there as a goalie, she will be a beast. The best thing about her is she said, ‘I’ll do whatever you want me to do.’”
Sutphin said it’s the kind of attitude and starting point he was looking for from the Lady Flyers. Franklin County plays its second game of the season 6 p.m. Wednesday against Fern Creek.
“I’m sure they are disappointed with the loss, but to me, I’ve just seen such great strides,” Sutphin said. “To think we were right there, I don’t know how the other coach feels, but I feel like we controlled the game in the first half. They had two shots in the half and they both were goals. I think they had a couple more shots in the second half and we had so many opportunities.”