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Despite losing 4-0 and allowing 70 shots on goal, the Lady Knights walked off the field happy Saturday night.
The Marion County High School girl's soccer team took on highly touted Boyle County High School at MCHS on Saturday. They expected a tough match. The Lady Rebels didn't disappoint.
The surprise of the match was the perseverance of the Lady Knights defense, withstanding a barrage of shots on goal but remaining in the game until ten minutes to go.
"I'm very happy. We knew coming into the game that it was going to be a struggle and a battle," Head Coach Neil Payne said. "Our offensive game was not clicking just yet. If we were to stay in the game we had to take the best that Boyle County had to offer. We were able to turn them back on several occasions. I told them before the game that Boyle County comes in ranked, heavily favored in the district, with all these expectations on them. The pressure is on them. Our attitude was that we weren't going to back down. We were going to take their best shot and keep coming. We did that all game."
One of the reasons the Lady Knights were able to hang around so long was because of the play of senior keep Christan Montgomery.
"I would say she is very physically exhausted," Payne said. "One of the single reasons we played so well because she played the best game of her high school career. I think she has finally come into her own. She took that next step."
Payne was also very proud of the defense.
"I really feel like it's all starting to come together," he said. "I had girls last night physically exhausted because they put so much into it. Playing this way we will get to where we want to be. I told the girls with a few more practices and a few more kinks worked out, we can meet Boyle County again and be more prepared for them."
Payne wasn't the only person to notice the play of the Lady Knights.
"I know that (Boyle County) Coach Deem told one of our players, 'Wow, you guys have changed tremendously.' I think that speaks volumes there," Payne said. "Top to bottom they were better than us. We beat them in the heart factor. That's why we were able to compete for 80 minutes."
The Lady Knights had a new addition to the roster Saturday, suiting up basketball star Makayla Epps for the first time. Epps hasn't officially practiced with the team yet but joined last week.
"Her previous experience is Little League. I don't know for sure but I think she hasn't played in four or five years," Payne said. "At the 15-minute mark, I needed fresh legs. I looked at her and said come on. She was nervous but you could tell as the game progressed she got better."
A little bit of playing time from Epps has Payne seeing visions of the future.
"I told her, you played this well last night, can you imagine how you will be with a season worth of practice? At the end of the game she had the confidence and swagger that she has on the basketball court," Payne said. "She's just a natural athlete. If Marion County had a cricket team, she could go out and be phenomenal. Whatever she does she's going to be good at."
The Lady Knights host Garrard County on Thursday night. They host Madison Central on Tuesday of next week.