Rowland's 4 goals lead South Oldham soccer past Ballard

Rowland's 4 goals lead South Oldham soccer past Ballard

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Rowland's 4 goals lead South Oldham soccer past Ballard

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The Ballard High School girls’ soccer team had not allowed a goal in its first four games this season, but that came to an end when South Oldham’s Stephanie Rowland had a field day in the Lady Dragons’ 5-0 victory Wednesday night at Ballard.

“Our coach (Cy Tucker) told us about that (unscored on record),” Rowland said following her team’s fifth straight win since a 2-1 loss to Henry Clay in the season opener. “We knew that wouldn’t continue today.”

She scored South Oldham’s first four goals, three in the first half and one early in the second 40-minute half. That gives the senior midfielder 10 goals this season. She had 11 last year, when South Oldham reached the Eighth Region Tournament final before losing to Oldham County 2-1.

“When she decides to be a scorer, she can be great out there,” said Tucker, who is in his 27th season at South Oldham and 39th as a high school coach. “She is very quick, she has a good first touch and she finds the ball very well.

“She could be that tough against any team we play if her mind-set is right,” added Tucker, who has led the Lady Dragons to six state championships, the last in 2001.

Rowland will play for Ohio University next fall. She also considered the University of Kentucky, but when UK assistant Aaron Rodgers left to become head coach at Ohio, she chose to go with him. “I really like him,” she said.

Rowland scored her first goal against the Bruins (4-1) less than 10 minutes into the match, booting in a penalty kick with 30:03 left in the first half after Sarah Ashy was tripped by a Ballard defender in the box.

Rowland took her PK from the left side of the goal, putting the ball past goalie Madison Stewart into the right corner.

“I wanted to go from the left side because it’s a better angle,” Rowland said. “I always kick to the right side. She guessed right, but the ball still went in.”

Her second came with 22:34 left in the opening half when she ran toward the left side of the goal and left-footed the ball into the right side of the net. She also scored in the last second of the first half when she drove the left side and kicked the ball in with two defenders on her.

Less than a minute into the second half, the 5-foot-5 Rowland scored from 20 yards out from the right wing for a 4-0 lead. She left the game a minute later as Tucker turned it over to the reserves.

Rowland’s play didn’t surprise Ballard coach Bryan Kleinman.

“She’s a top player,” he said. “I know about her from club ball. She was a big difference in the game. We played last night, so we were a little tired, but give South Oldham credit. They outplayed us and controlled the ball. They have a good program.”

Ashy, a 5-9 junior forward who assisted on two of Rowland’s goals, scored South Oldham’s final goal. Driving down the middle of the field, she split two defenders and booted the ball in from 15 yards out with 9:18 remaining.

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Rowland's 4 goals lead South Oldham soccer past Ballard
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