MURRAY — Gutted. Heartbroken. Angry. In utter disbelief. The range of emotions for the players of Calloway County was all over the spectrum last night after their 1-0 loss to Mayfield in the opening round of the district tournament.
After reaching the regional tournament each of the last three years, the senior class for the Lakers was dealt an early exit for the first time in their varsity careers.
“They’ve been a big part of this program for the last four years and so that’s the worst,” head coach for the Lakers Pierce said. “The end of any season really. There are no more games. You have to lose players that you’ve hung around with for more than four years, with them coming through middle school, five, six, and sometimes seven years. When you see them every day at practice and at games, it’s just weird not having them and their spirit around anymore. That’s one of the hardest parts about coaching.”
If the scoreboard was turned off and a spectator was to watch last night’s second half with only the knowledge that one team led 1-0, that person would be convinced the Lakers were on top. Calloway dominated every aspect of last night’s game except for finishing on their opportunities.
Pierce said, “It’s fitting,” because there were several other games this year that the Lakers were the better team on the field but came off with a loss. Last night was no different than those previous experiences.
“We worked hard and gave ourselves chances,” Pierce said. The Lakers took 20 shots to just seven for the Cardinals, but unlike the Cardinals, none of the Lakers shots were able to find the back of the goal. One shot after the other gave the Laker hopefuls a higher pulse rate but time after time the shots were either saved or narrowly missed.
“An inch here, an inch there,” Pierce said. “We just couldn’t find the net and that’s what matters.”
The lone goal of the night was a shot that came on a free kick after a foul outside of the box. It was a perfectly placed shot that found the far post and there was nothing goalkeeper Landon Houk could do to stop it.
“He just dropped it in the back post,” Pierce said. “Got it over Landon. He couldn’t have placed it any better to get it over Landon and under the bar. It’s just one of those that just dropped in.”
Calloway County finished their season 5-14-1 and will lose four seniors, but the foundation is built for a run at redemption next year with a young group returning and they’ve had plenty of experience this year in varsity action.