Following almost 65 minutes of back-and-forth soccer, Owensboro High School's Natalie LaMar put away a goal with 15:27 left to play to lift the Lady Devils to a 1-0 victory over district foe Apollo on Tuesday at Shifley Park.
LaMar's goal came on a low corner kick assist from Ella Grace Mays, which helped OHS (1-2) capture its first win of the young season.
"It's a set piece that we work on multiple times a week, and it was executed with perfection," said first-year Lady Devils coach Michael Lovett. "It's one of those things -- we always say we don't care who scores, as long as we score, and the most unlikely of people scored. It doesn't matter, Owensboro's up 1-0."
It was a lead that the Lady Devils never relinquished. Afterward, Lovett called the victory "a relief."
"I thought we put together our first really complete game, as far as two solid halves," he said. "I wish it could've generated more goals, but the fact that it generated the one that won it is the most important part. We started the first of our year a little bit sloppy, a little bit timid, but the last couple of games, we've gained our confidence.
"We're really starting to get more of a winner's mentality, and it's showing."
Lovett considered the win a result of momentum carried over from last week's game against Lyon County, even though the Lady Devils fell, 6-5.
"We've known that we're better than we've shown," he said. "We were a bit humbled in our first game with Daviess County (a 10-0 loss), and I wish our game against Lyon County could've been here, because the fight the girls showed after being down 3-0 and coming back and scoring five goals in the second half was tremendous.
"It was 'Let's feed off of that tonight.' We did, except for generating multiple goals, and the energy and everything was tremendous for us."
Freshman goalkeeper Chandler Worth tallied two saves for OHS, as well.
Apollo (0-4) had opportunities to score, including a free kick that Worth saved nearly midway through the first half, and first-year E-Gals coach Dave Woeste credited his players for their effort.
"I'm real impressed with our youth," he said. "We could've just said after three games, we got 30 goals scored on us -- they could've quit on me but they're not. They're fighting harder today than when we started the season, and that's a good thing."
Woeste was especially complimentary of his defense and freshman goalkeeper Jo Hutchinson, who recorded three saves after missing the last two games.
"Now, we hold these guys to one goal against," Woeste said. "I thought there could've been a couple chances, but for the most part they had most of the shots on goal. Our freshman goalkeeper played very, very tenacious. ... In every game, she just gets better and better."
Apollo returns to action Saturday at the Lady Dragons Lair Classic hosted by Warren Central, while OHS will travel to Muhlenberg County on Thursday -- with a renewed sense of confidence.
"Now we can breathe and look forward to really focusing on our season," Lovett said. "That's the toughest part of any season. You get the first win under your belt, then it's like OK, and you can start looking forward to opponents. When you don't, you get anxious, and now that anxiety part is over and we can focus on playing soccer."