Just 17 days ago, the Southwestern High School boys soccer team suffered a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Boyle County High School.
Monday night in the opening round of the 12th Region Boys Soccer Tournament at Clara Morrow Field, the Warriors watched an early 2-0 lead slip away and trailed that same Boyle County team by a goal at halftime.
However in Monday’s rematch, the Warriors scored three unanswered goals in the second half to win by a score of 5-3, and advanced to region tournament semifinals.
“We were playing with a chip on our shoulder and these kids never gave up,” Southwestern coach Sean McBride stated. “Were are a little dinged up, and I have got to say this is the most effort I have seen out of this group of kids. We deserved this win and I felt like we worked harder.”
The Warriors came out strong in the opening minutes of the game with multiple shot attempts by Logan Dykes, Jagger Keller, and Matthew Jones. But in the 16th minute, Warrior sophomore Dylan Stevens scored off at the goal of a throw-in play to give Southwestern an early 1-0 lead.
Then in the 25th minute, Logan Dykes scored off an assist by Matthew Jones to put the Warriors up 2-0.
The jubilant Warriors still had smiles on their faces from their early lead when Boyle County’s Caleb Jackson scored from 18 yards out. And in a span of less than four minutes, the Rebels scored two more times with goals by Ryan Henry and Jackson to go up 3-2 at halftime.
“We got a little down in that first half and that is a problem we have had giving up quick goals,” McBride said of his team’s late first-half breakdown. “That has been part of our identity for the past two years, but we are trying to leave that behind us.”
The Warriors played a little tight in the opening minutes of the second half, as they were down by a goal and faced a season-ending scenario if they could not respond to the Rebels’ one-goal lead.
Southwestern’s Keller had the only Warrior scoring attempt in the first 26 minutes of the second half when he sailed a one-on-one open attempt high of the frame.
The Warrior’s equalizer came in the 66th minute when Matthew Jones scored off a rebounded shot.
Five minutes later, Stevens scored his second goal of the night and gave the Warriors the lead when he scored off a rebounded attempt.
“Everyone had great games, but (Dylan) Stevens had a fantastic game,” McBride stated. “He was poised had some good passes, and that first goal he scored was big. We had been working on that the past two weeks of practice, because we were going to be on this small field and it comes into play in these throw ins, so we are going to play to it. Somebody had to get to that throw in first and (Stevens) had a good finish.”
In the 71st minute, Southwestern’s Orlando Alvarez put the icing on the cake with his score at goal – putting the Warriors up 5-3.
“I felt like we took advantage of the throw-ins and the corner kicks,” McBride said after his team’s opening-round region tourney win. “I told the kids before the game that if we were going to score it was going to have to be off crosses, because Boyle’s keeper (Ethan James) is one of the best in the region.”
With the win, Southwestern upped their record to 10-8-1, but more importantly, they live to play another day. Southwestern will battle West Jessamine High School (15-6-1) on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at 6:30 p.m. at Clara Morrow Field in the 12th Region Tournament semifinals.