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WJHS wins rivalry match

By Brian Rickerd

Contributing writer

West Jessamine senior Elijah Young says his Colts are a unified bunch in 2017, and that stood out like a marquee on the Las Vegas strip Monday night in West’s 7-0 win at East Jessamine.

Seven different Colts had either a goal or an assist, led by junior Jamin Kuepfer with two goals and two assists, and Young with two goals.

West improved to 6-3-1 heading into a big district battle at home tonight vs. Mercer County.

“I think we’re more developed as a team … we’re more unified,” Young said after the Colts won their third straight match. “We had some selfishness last year, but with Brock (WJ coach Brock Sutherland) implementing some new rules this year, we’re more like brothers thanjust teammates.

“We have players that want to win and know how to win. You have to play as a team, and in order to play as a team, you have to move the ball quickly and then take your chances and score.”

To get all that scoring, West needed both great defense on the back line and pin-point passing all over the field.

“I love the possession that we have,’’ said Sutherland, who’s in his seventh season at West Jessamine. “It’s 10 times better than it’s been in the past. We’ve won three games in a row, and the possession has gotten better each game.

“Plus, we’re scoring goals and scoring them at the right time. Elijah has had 11 or 12 goals the past four games, but tonight everybody was able to get on the board, thanks to simple ball movement and a lot of passing.”

The Colts did not put away East’s Jaguars until the second half Monday, however.

West did not punch across a goal until junior Gordon Shearer came through with just 15:15 left in the first half, off an assist from Kuepfer.

Freshman A.J. Kinnell scored what may have been the most critical of the night with 2:20 left before intermission when he knocked home a goal unassisted, for a 2-0 halftime lead.

The Jaguars could not recover.

West put it away with three goals in the first eight minutes of the second half, with Kuepfer, Young, and junior Lucas Labrillazo doing the honors.

That made it 5-0, West, with 32:50 remaining.

Young and sophomore Chris Siegel added two late scores.

Labrillazo added two assists and Kinnell had one. Senior Trey Miller had a relatively quiet night in goal for the Colts. He got relief help late from backup goalie Collin McKibben, a freshman.

“Trey didn’t really have much to do, and Aaron (Bickleman, a junior), Jamin (Kuepfer) and Max (Spencer, a sophomore) played extremely well in the back,” Sutherland said. “I even had a freshman, Mason (Devney), who came in and did a great job, too.”

Sutherland said West’s improvement this season has been a combination of his four seniors — Miller, Young, Bryce Shely and Mark Sipes, stepping up, along with a slew of juniors, three sophomores and three freshmen. Miller, Sutherland suggests, has been an anchor.

“Without a doubt, he’s one of the best goalkeepers in the state,” Sutherland said of Miller. “I’m already on my athletics director — let’s get Trey player of the year. And he’s, like, you’ve got to get to the state tournament, and then we’ll put in our votes for him.

“He’s that good. I mean, he’s a four-year starter, a two-year leader, two-year captain…he’s got all the tools. I can’t wait to see him play at the next level.”

West Jessamine certainly appears capable of being a state tournament team. The Colts’ top hurdle may be Mercer County’s Titans, who are 1-0 vs. West this fall, after going 4-0 vs. the Colts a year ago, including a 2-0 verdict over West in the 12th Region final.

“I think by the end of this season, truth be told, this will be the best team that I’ve had,” Sutherland said. “I’m excited. I’m confident about where it’s going, and what we’re trying to do.”

East Jessamine fell to 2-9 with Monday’s loss. The Jaguars play at Madison Southern tonight at 7:30.

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West officials announced at Monday’s boys/girls soccer doubleheader that Teresa Harrison, the mother of East Jessamine junior goalkeeper Calab Harrison, has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

The players for both East Jessamine and West Jessamine wore pink wrist bands in Teresa’s honor, and money was collected at the concession stand throughout the night for Teresa’s care.

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West Jessamne’s girls’ soccer team capped off a big night for the westside Monday with a 4-1 win over their counterparts from East Jessamine.

The Colts led 2-0 at halftime thanks to goals by sophomore Caroline Absher and junior Saraya Young, with assists to junior Kami Yantz and senior Morgan Pence.

The Jaguars stayed in it with a penalty kick goal by senior Olivia Slade midway through the second half, but then West put it away on late goals by Young and Yantz, with sophomore Hailey Cole assisting on both.

Sophomore Anna Rexford was in goal for West and senior Raven Sandeers for East.

The Colts improve to 8-2-2 going into a home match against Mercer County Wednesday, while the Jaguars fell to 4-6-1 going into a home match with Lincoln County tonight.