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The SCHS girls' soccer team withstood an onslaught of shots from South Oldham late in the second half Wednesday to come out all even at 1 after 80 minutes.
The tie was like a victory for the Rockets (9-6-1) after they were outshot, 25-1, and visiting South Oldham (11-3-2, No. 8 in the state) took 13 corner kicks.
"They just punched us in the mouth over and over again," SCHS Coach Joe Turner said. "I told them we could bend, but we couldn't break, and that's what our defense did. That, and Laura Metcalf was absolutely phenomenal in the goal."
South Oldham seemed constantly to be taking shots at Shelby County's goal during the final 15 minutes of play, but every time they shot a Shelby defender seemed to step in front or Metcalf was able to swallow up the ball.
"We had a lot of girls run their butts off," Turner said. "We made a lot of mistakes, but somehow we always seemed to be in the right place at the right time."
That could not have been more evident then when the Rockets scored their only goal.
With her team trailing, 1-0, to start the second half, Breanna Smith chased a ball that appeared to be going out of bounds, but the ball bounced off the right corner flag, staying in bounds.
Smith crossed it into the middle, and, eventually, Ariel Vaughn took a deflected ball and chipped it over South Oldham's goalie to tie the score just three minutes into the half.
"The girls always play hard, and that's a great example of it," Turner said. "We were lucky that the ball stayed in bounds, but we never gave up on it."
After that it was almost all South Oldham, and Turner said his defense relied heavily on Olivia Sanders in the back.
"She basically played four positions because our fullbacks didn't play as well as they had been," Turner said. "I'm not sure how we got away with that."
Turner said he thought his team came out a little tight against a top 10 team.
"I think the girls were a little nervous and afraid to make a mistake," he said. "We have to get over that whole 'you're ranked and we're not' attitude,' and I think this will help. This is the second year in a row we've played South Oldham really, really well, and we played Oldham County well this year, too."
The Rockets lost, 2-0, in a very tight game at Oldham County earlier this year, and last year they lost to South, 1-0, in a game that was tough to the finish.
Turner said the game's physical nature worked in his team's favor.
"We couldn't stay with their speed, but we could bang bodies with them [South Oldham]," he said. "I think we forced them to back off some. It wasn't a pretty game, but I'm not interested in pretty."