Owensboro wasn't going to be denied on Thursday night.
The Red Devils got a pair of goals from Marcos Barrera Jimeno and defeated host Owensboro Catholic 5-1 in a boys' 9th District soccer match at Independence Field.
The victory secured OHS a first-place tie with Daviess County at 5-1 in regular-season district play -- necessitating a coin flip for the No. 1 seed in the upcoming 9th District Tournament.
"We were stale in the first half," said Owensboro coach Ryan Haley, whose squad battled 4th Region power South Warren to a 3-3 draw on Wednesday night. "I think last night's match had something to do with it -- we had a lot of guys play a lot of minutes.
"The team effort was better in the second half. We were a lot more organized and we had better communication."
Barrera Jimeno opened the scoring just three minutes into the contest, getting an assist from Noah Tucker, to provide the Red Devils a quick 1-0 advantage.
The Aces responded soon after, however, when Lance Dickens received a pass from Cole Blandford and scored from the right wing in the seventh minute to tie the score.
The teams then battled on even terms over the next 20 minutes, before Owensboro took the lead on a goal by Grayson McFarland off an assist from Hser Thaw in the 30th minute.
Six minutes later, Thaw scored off a pass from Reis Dickinson to provide the Red Devils a 3-1 lead at intermission.
In the 47th minute, Barrera Jimeno made it 4-1 Red Devils, scoring off an assist from Thaw.
Owensboro wrapped up the scoring in the 55th minute when Andrew Saltsman scored off an assist from Jacob Hunt.
Despite the loss, Owensboro Catholic coach Andy Donohoe was pleased with his team's competitiveness.
"We lacked some basic communication on four of their goals, which is disappointing, and we need to learn from our mistakes," Donohoe said. "The way the lads are approaching things, we're beginning to develop an identity, and that's something we've been trying to establish.
"We're getting better -- our effort and performance was really strong throughout this one."
Owensboro, 12-3-2 overall, outshot the Aces by a 13-7 margin. Red Devils goalkeeper Radley Worth made four saves, and Catholic's keeper combo of Caleb Ranallo and Landon Reffitt were credited with five saves.
Both teams return to action on Saturday. Owensboro plays host to McCracken County, while Owensboro Catholic (5-6-1, 0-6) ventures to Frankfort for a showdown with Prestonsburg in the first round of the All 'A' Classic small-school state tournament.