The Knox Central Lady Panthers claimed the 50th district championship on Wednesday night, defeating the Harlan County Lady Black Bears 9-1. Throughout the tournament, the Lady Panthers outscored their opposition 19-1 en route to the district crown.
Makenzi Hopper led the way for Knox Central with four goals and one assist. She was followed by Ivy Partin with three goals, Abi Beller with two goals and one assist, Jadyan Belile with one assist, and Taylor Payne with two assists.
The Lady Panthers elected to use two goalies for the Harlan County game. Layla Gray and Chloe Riley both defended the net for Knox Central, with Gray allowing only one goal, and Riley allowing zero goals.
Taylor Payne was named the tournament MVP. Ivy Partin, Caylan Mills, Makenzi Hopper, Abi Beller, and Haylee Gambrel were named to the All-Tournament team for Knox Central.
Following the district championship, Knox Central coach Corey Bauer stated her pleasure with her team's performance throughout the entire season, as well as the tournament.
"I think winning the way we have this season has given the team the confidence to realize that they are capable of playing with anyone," said Bauer. "We had a slow start in this one. It took us 20 minutes to get our first goal. After that, we started playing much better. If we keep this momentum, and play the way we can play, I think we can compete in the regional tournament."
With the victory, Knox Central extended their winning streak to five straight games, and extended their previous record for wins in a season from 11 to 12 games.
After claiming the district crown, the Lady Panthers advanced to the 13th region soccer tournament, facing the North Laurel Lady Jaguars in the opening round.
After a great season full of wins, records, and experiences, Knox Central fell to North Laurel 6-0 to end the season.
Bauer thanked everyone involved with the team over the course of the season.
"The outcome isn’t what we hoped for, but their hearts were left on the field," she said. "Thank you to our seniors for the time and work you have put in. Thank you to the rest of the team for showing up and wanting to be better. Thank you to the parents, administrators, and all of the supporters for being there this season. I’m heart broken for these girls. I love each of them so much."
The Lady Panthers set the school record for wins in a season with 12. They outscored their opposition 95-43 on the season, and tallied a final record of 12-6.
Ivy Partin led the team on the season with 30 goals and eight assists. She was followed by Makenzi Hopper with 22 goals and 14 assists, Taylor Payne with 16 goals and 27 assists, Abi Beller with 13 goals and six assists, Caylan Mills with six goals and eight assists, Gabby Messer with two goals, Mackenzie Golden with two goals and two assists, Janessa Spencer with one goal, Haylee Gambrel with one goal and two assists, Madison Asaro with one goal, Amya Bledsoe with one assist, and Jadyan Belile with one assist.
Goalkeeper Lexie Olmstead led the Knox Central defense with 91 saves and four shutouts. She was followed by Chloe Riley with seven saves, and Layla Gray with five saves.