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Butler goal lifts Lady Cats

Butler goal lifts Lady Cats
Butler goal lifts Lady Cats
In the final minutes, North Harrison's Kaitlyn Butler (20) kicks a free ball toward the back of the net while Corydon Central attempts to deny the shot. The goal put the Lady Cats ahead 2-1. Photo by Brian Smith

Right place, right time.
North Harrison junior Kaitlyn Butler pushed the ball up the right flank with less than 12 minutes to play Thursday in a 1-all tie with rival Corydon Central.
Sending a cross toward the box, Kim Chiquito had a left-footed shot denied by Lady Panthers defender Kayla Turner. Cheyenne Byerley snuck in to pound a try but was stopped by Corydon Central keeper Mariah Jo Nye.
Bodies then hit the grass as Nye dove in the direction of the ball. The ball squirted loose with Byerley finding Butler. With Nye lunging back toward the net, she wasn’t able to stop Butler’s blast that rang the top post and curled across the goal line.
The goal was the eventual game- winner with 11:24 left as North Harrison defeated host Corydon Central, 2-1.
‘I took it to the corner and crossed it. It bounced around, and I kicked it,’ Butler recalled. ‘It was an exciting game.’
It was a comeback effort needed by the defending Mid-Southern Conference champs to pull off the victory. Corydon Central’s Mercedes Trumpower scored a goal in the opening minutes.
A converted penalty kick by the Lady Cats, taken by Butler, knotted the match.
Playing tight the rest of the way, both teams’ coaches lauded the effort of the players.
‘What a great game.’ North Harrison coach Jeff Butler said. ‘(Corydon Central) was ready to play tonight. I told the girls we had to have energy tonight. They were sluggish early, but it turned out to be a good knock-down, drag-out game.’
‘It was a fun game but heart-wrenching as well,’ Corydon Central coach Kyle Jones said.
The game’s opening goal happened inside the first five minutes. Trumpower was left open in the penalty area and fired a shot by North Harrison keeper Kayla Cash.
With the 1-0 lead, North Harrison attempted to press forward later in the half. Butler took a free kick from five yards beyond the penalty box in the 25th minute, but the shot was denied by Nye.
Three minutes later, Byerley sent a corner kick toward the box, but a whistle stopped play for a foul on the Lady Panthers. Taking the penalty kick, Butler’s low-left shot bounced off Nye’s gloves and beyond the goal line.
‘I thought the nerves were gone after the quick goal,’ Jones said. ‘I thought we could keep the intensity up. It seemed the nerves came back. A penalty kick is a hard goal to come back from.’
The PK tied the score, but the Lady Cats nearly took the lead in the final five minutes of the half. Two shots clanked off the post, not going in.
Each team had chances in the second half. Corydon Central had a handful of scoring chances in the first 10 minutes, highlighted by a Trumpower shot that was saved.
Butler took a pair of free kicks near the halfway point but couldn’t find the net.
‘We got pushed back a little more on defense than we wanted and couldn’t get forward,’ coach Butler said. ‘We started to get forward, then it was back and forth.’
It wasn’t until the final 12 minutes that North Harrison, backed by a blue-and-white face-painted student section, scored the go-ahead goal.
‘To get the penalty early and convert it helped us get going,’ coach Butler said. ‘At the end, the ball was just bouncing around and fell to (Kaitlyn). The game could have went either way, but the ball landed in front of her, and she finished it.’
The goal was Butler’s 13th of the season.
Within the MSC race, Corydon Central fell to 2-1 while the Lady Cats moved to 1-1.
‘We both played hard, a good one to be part of,’ Kaitlyn said. ‘We didn’t give up and stayed with it. We brought it to them late and played very hard. We’re all good friends but still rivals. It was an exciting game.’
‘We’ve had a couple girls sick this week, so they were getting over that,’ Jeff Butler said. ‘Abby Byerley, Abby Logsdon and Cali Nolot were girls that haven’t played a whole lot (that) step in and played great. They had a lot of energy.’
Butler added that the win was important to keep the MSC hopes alive with a key game yesterday (Tuesday) against Silver Creek.
For the Lady Panthers, Jones wanted the win but sees the development of his roster.
‘It’s a great improvement from the first four games of the season,’ Jones said. ‘The defense has gotten back together. The Jeffersonville game Tuesday (1-0 loss), we passed much better but couldn’t get lucky with a shot. The improvements have been huge.’
As the defense comes together, Jones said the next step is working out the kinks in the offense.
‘We’re lacking in the forward area with a girl that can dribble and get through to get a shot off,’ he said. ‘It’s coming because our defense has come a long way this season. We got the ball down toward the penalty box a few times but couldn’t get a good shot or cross in to get a goal.’
Both teams will return to action tomorrow (Thursday) with North Harrison hosting Charlestown and Corydon Central traveling to Salem.