After suffering a loss to Danville back in early September, the Mercer County Titans boys soccer team got their revenge, defeating the Admirals, 4-3 on Tuesday, Oct. 17, in the first round of the 12th Region Tournament.
Danville scored first off the foot of Nathan Hazlett. Hazlett took the shot from 10 yards outside the 18-yard-box four minutes into the game. The Admirals had another opportunity just minutes later, but Saif Siddiqui for the Admirals was called offside.
Mercer’s Brandon Ballard scored his 31st goal of the season to tie the game at 1-all. This goal was a big momentum swing for the Titans tiying the game just minutes before halftime.
The momentum quickly swung back in the Admirals favor when Siddiqui was able to score and put Danville ahead 2-1 at halftime. The second half was a much different game. The Titans came out as the aggressor and showcased their ability to play team ball and control possession. The Titans scored three goals in three minutes to take a commanding 4-2 lead just 10 minutes into the second half.
Mercer’s Marcus Lewis chipped the Danville keeper on a breakaway to tie the game at 2-all. The Titans took control of the game when Ballard scored the go-ahead goal, directing the ball into the goal off a free kick by Kola Raskin. They add a fourth insurance goal off another header by Andrew Turpin just moments later, off a cross by Lewis. The Titans had their best sequence of the season in three minutes and Head Coach Garrett Stark talked about his team’s performance after the game.
“We’ve had a lot of injuries in the last month of the season, which we were able to come back from and I can’t tell you how proud I am of these kids,” he said. “We panicked a little after giving up the first goal but we stuck with it and played well.”
Junior goalkeeper Johnny Johnston recovered after a shaky first half. Johnston made some key saves to preserves the lead for the Titans and was a big part of the win. Danville was able to cut Mercer’s lead down to a single goal late, but were never able to find the equalizer as the Titans advanced with the 4-3 win.
The Titans will be back on the pitch Wednesday, Oct. 18, when they play the winner of Somerset and Wayne County.
To learn more, check out this week’s issue of The Harrodsburg Herald.