In a battle of two of the area’s top teams, the Dragons found themselves shorthanded against the Tigers.
Senior forward Cooper Cantrell, a second-team all-state forward last season and University of Kentucky commit, did not play and other key players were less than 100 percent, South Oldham coach Denis Beall said. As a result, the Dragons, the No. 10 team in the state’s Maher Rankings, started five sophomores against the No. 7 Tigers. Off the game’s first corner kick, Lucas Mudd outmaneuvered his defender to head in the first goal just 3:17 into the match.
St. X (4-1) doubled its lead less than five minutes later when Dragons’ goalkeeper Will Huckaby blocked an initial shot by Samuel Reid, but Brad Middleton scored on the deflection.
Beall said he thought his young lineup played well early.
“We were doing some of the things we wanted,” he said. “It was mistakes on our part that gave them the opportunities in the first half.”
While the Tigers were able to create and cash in on multiple chances early, South Oldham (3-2) struggled to find its flow through the first 15 minutes of the match. To make matters worse, the Dragons lost Huckaby after he collided with a Tigers attacker on a corner kick in the game’s 18th minute. Beall said his sophomore keeper hurt his chest and kept him out for the rest of the game.
South Oldham eventually settled down, but while the Dragons were finally able to put passes together, they still had trouble breaching the Tigers back line. South Oldham’s best chance came with under six minutes left in the first half when Brady Rowekamp’s arching try from 20-yards out sailed just over the crossbar.
By that time, St. X was up 3-0 as Sam Graber’s free kick from just outside the box found the left corner of the goal. Even after halftime, the Tigers kept it up with Nicholas Scharfenberger converting a counter attack 14 minutes into the second half to make it 4-0.
Tigers coach Andy Schulten especially liked Scharfenberger’s goal for a couple of reasons. One, it did not come off a free kick, and second, the Tigers coach likes to treat halves as separate games. On Tuesday, his team hosted Floyd Central, which scored a goal early in the second half of an eventual 4-1 win for St. X.
“And then we had a war on our hands, until about 10 minutes left and we got one in,” Schulten said of the Floyd Central goal. “We score first (against South Oldham), and it’s just, ‘Now, let’s relax.’”
After playing five games in an eight-day span, St. X now gets a week off before hosting Male. The Dragons play Saturday, hosting Henderson County.