Two halves, two goals, a 2-0 win.
Western Hills’ girls soccer team (1-1) defeated Frankfort High (0-2-1) Monday in the Rotary Capital City Classic at Sower Soccer Complex.
Because Owen County dropped out of the tournament too late to find a replacement, the three local teams are playing varsity-junior varsity doubleheaders the three nights of the Classic.
FHS will play Franklin County Wednesday, and Western Hills’ next game will be Saturday against FCHS.
Western Hills looked as if it might take control early Monday when Amber Peyton scored off a corner kick with 35:11 left in the first half.
That turned out to be the only goal of the half.
Frankfort had a chance to tie the game on a penalty kick by Maggie Smith with 32:49 left in the half, but WHHS keeper MacKenzie Jones punched the ball away from the goal, keeping the Lady Panthers off the scoreboard.
“I thought we played very well,” FHS coach Adam Saunderson said. “I thought we were the better team in the first half. We had some bad luck, some calls that didn’t go our way, but you can’t control the referees.
“I thought Maggie’s penalty kick was good, but their keeper made a good save.”
The teams played on even terms the rest of the half and for much of the second half.
The only goal in the second half was scored on a penalty kick by WHHS’ Hayley Greenwell, who buried her shot in the lower left corner of the net with 13:44 left in the game.
“I’m happy to win,” Greenwell said, “but I feel like as a team we could have done a little better.
“I was pleased that we kept our cool and played our game instead of trying to push around and all that.”
Saunderson was forced to piece together a lineup in the second half when injuries became an issue.
“Injuries killed us,” he said. “We lost three starters during the game. Any time you lose a player it affects you, but you lose three starters and that definitely affects you.
“Our defensive unit in the second half had never played together as a defensive unit before, and I thought they did an excellent job. Serena Frye and Celia Gray played fullback, and they’d never played fullback before.”
Maya Burke was in goal for Frankfort.
FHS opened its season last week, losing to Sayre 2-0 and playing Model to a scoreless tie.
“We’ve played strong positions for the most part,” Saunderson said. “That’s the frustrating part. We’ve lost or played even against teams where we’re the better team or at least as good.
“We lost five or six seniors, but we’ve got a good crop back from last year and a good crop of freshmen this year. We’re young for the most part. We only have five seniors, including one who has never played before.”
Coming into Monday’s contest WHHS had played one scrimmage and one regular-season game, which it lost 2-0 at Mercer County.
While the Lady Wolverines haven’t played many games, they’ve seen improvement in their play.
“Everyone’s playing more as a team than independent,” Maria Conway said. “We’re starting to communicate a little more, and it’s starting to show.”
“We’ve really improved our passing and the runs we made, really everything,” Greenwell said.
The tournament wraps up with Saturday’s 6 p.m. game between Franklin County and WHHS.
To see a gallery of photos from this game click here.