BOWLING GREEN -- Doug Sandifer needed a minute or two in order to collect his thoughts Saturday evening as the Daviess County boys soccer team celebrated on its sideline.

Sandifer coached DC to the KHSAA state championship in 2016, and the team returned to the championship game in 2017.

This DC squad had put together a strong record, but not many had its destination as the state tournament semifinals.

Well, the travel plans for Lexington got made with a 1-0 win over Warren Central in the quarterfinals.

Daviess County will be in the state semifinals in Lexington on Wednesday at a Fayette County Public School that has not been determined yet.

The Panthers (20-2-2) will take on East Carter in the semifinals, but game time and location hasn't been determined yet.

Warren Central finished 20-5-1.

DC is not finished with its season yet because it played strong defense in its half of the field, and it got a fortunate goal from Jacob Boling in the 26th minute.

"I told them before the game, if we just do what we do well, defend as a team, disciplined defense, we'll get our chances to score," DC coach Doug Sandifer said. "This was going to be a really good team to play. That's why in July we spend so much time working on defending in our half of the field, they stuck to that all year long.

"We just peck away and peck away. I said shoot the ball, it's kind of wet. Jacob takes a shot, takes a deflection. Before that we had a couple of corner kicks that he didn't handle well in goal for them, we were maybe a step late.

"I thought for 75 minutes we were the best team. You hang on the last five minutes because they're throwing everything at you."

Boling hit his shot well enough that it went off a Warren Central player, and the keeper couldn't get a handle on it.

"That's our goal always, get some corner kicks," Boling said. "We know wet turf, it's going to skip fast, I shot it, 20 yards and out we're looking to shoot. It was lucky I guess."

DC controlled possession most of the way, but Warren Central did turn up the offensive pressure considerably in that last stretch.

"We always rely on defense first, and that turns into attack," Boling said. "Our defense played phenomenal. Our goal since beginning of the year is no goals in first or last five minutes of every half. We play our hardest defense then."

The Panthers will get another chance to do that -- it will be their fourth time in the final four since 2010 -- and it will be a surprise trip.

Boling was on the 2017 squad that played in the state championship game.

"It feels amazing to be back at the final four," Boling said.

Sandifer couldn't have been happier that this group is going.

"I can't even express how unbelievable this is for this group, how proud I am, not just tonight, but the entire body of work," Sandifer said. "This team is 20-2-2 with one senior playing, six juniors, a bunch of freshmen and sophomores. The crazy thing is some of the juniors, this is their first season on varsity, but they've done what we've asked them to do every day. It's remarkable. It's really hard to put in to words."

(1) comment

albert smith

Isn’t DC the 2nd ranked team in the state - with a 20-2 record? What’s the big surprise?

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