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Lady Knights' season ends

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By Jesse Osbourne

After drilling Garrard County 4-0 in the district tournament opener, the Marion County High School girls' soccer team ended their season in the second round of the 29th District tournament against Danville High School on Tuesday of last week.

The Lady Admirals never pulled in the reins, pursuing shots on goal until late in the game, winning 6-0.

"Both games we did everything we possibly could," Head Coach Neil Payne said. "We got down a couple of goals and got down on ourselves. It just wasn't meant to be. We focused so much on defense that our offense suffered. When you work hard and don't have anything to show for it, it becomes disheartening. We started hanging our heads early."

Payne said it has been a down year for the team, suffering from inexperience while also battling the injury bug. Payne was counting on two players, Lauren Clements and Christine Mattingly, who were lost for most of the season to injuries. The players coming back will benefit from this season, he said.

"Next year we lose four seniors but we return 21 players," he said. "We're hoping to have a big middle school and freshman class. The players coming back will be better. We'll use losses like this as motivation."

The Lady Knights lose returning captain Erica Essex, Sarah Blair, Maggie Ballard and Leanna Payne.

"They have been a big part of our success," Payne said. "They've been great role models and leaders for the underclassmen. They'll all four be missed next year."

Essex was reluctant to have a twisted ankle examined at halftime so that she wouldn't be taken out of the game, Payne said. She hobbled out for the second half and competed until the game was over.

The season-ending soccer banquet will be in November, according to Payne.