With a 4-0 victory over North Laurel Thursday night, the Corbin Lady Hounds soccer team became back-to-back 13th Region champions.
“This is awesome,” said Head Coach Hannah Going after the win. “Last year going to state was such an amazing opportunity, and to be able to go back-to-back is just awesome. I’m so proud of these girls, I’m so proud of the team. They’ve worked so hard, and they really deserve this.”
Corbin only had a 1-0 lead going into halftime after junior Abby Baker scored a goal about midway through the first half. North Laurel’s Jenna Rockwell had a great shot on goal just before time ran out in the half, but a big time stop by Lady Hound goal keeper Olivia Jones kept the Lady Jags from being able to equalize.
Junior Nikki Wells got several corner kick opportunities for Corbin throughout the evening, but none of those resulted in goals. Sophomore Sarah Fryer also had some very good looks, but she was not able to get the ball past the North Laurel goalie.
The Lady Hounds’ second score came with 33:00 remaining in regulation when senior Kara Grisell found the back of the net.
“This feels incredible,” Grisell would later say. “We just came out and played with a lot of heart. We wanted to make sure that our season didn’t end tonight, and now we get to go back to state. To be able to prove that we belong there is amazing.”
“North Laurel is a good team,” Grisell continued. “You have to give them a lot of respect. They’ve been good competition, so to be able to beat them and go on to state just feels really good.”
Corbin’s other senior, Mallory Allen, put the Hounds up 3-0 with 3:01 remaining, and that was followed soon thereafter by a goal from junior Nikki Wells to make the final score of the contest 4-0.
“The fact that this wasn’t my last game is probably the most amazing feeling,” said Allen. “Last year I was injured during this time, so getting to go out and play with my team for this championship was great.”
“Our team is really close,” Allen added. “And as the year has gone on we’ve gotten even closer. That has helped us mesh better on the field, and now it’s all just come together like a fairy tale.”
Baker said, “Every year is a new experience for this team, and seeing everyone’s motivation and drive to get back to state this season has been amazing. All of the hard work, the times that I got up and didn’t want to go to practice, the times that coach Hannah has yelled at me to make me a better player… It was all definitely worth it in the end.”
“Our goal is obviously to make it farther than the Elite Eight. A lot of teams will underestimate us because we come from a smaller community, but this year I think we’re going to bring more experience and more heart than they might expect.”
Finally, Wells said, “Winning back-to-back region titles definitely has me on cloud nine right now. I’m so excited. I knew coming in that it was going to be a tough game. At first I was a little bit nervous, but once we got out there and the whistle blew I thought to myself, ‘We can do this.’”
“This team is my family, and it’s amazing to be able to win this championship with my family.”
The Corbin girls (12-10) will now begin preparations for their first round game in this year’s KHSAA state championship tournament. They will play the winners of Region 16 on Monday, October 24, at Corbin Primary School. Start time is currently scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
For coverage of the Lady Hounds’ first round game in the 2016 state tournament, see the 10/26 print edition of the News Journal.
13th Region girls soccer All-Tournament team members: Kara Grisell, Nikki Wells, Abby Baker, Savannah Finley
13th Region tournament Defensive MVP: Tristan Gibbs