Deerfield players gather around and celebrate with star and leading scorer Casey Kincheloe — The Herald’s reigning Player of the Year — after Kincheloe scored on a penalty kick in the first half of Friday’s GISA Class AAA Elite 8 game against Mount de Sales. DWS won, 3-1, to reach next week’s Final Four, while the DWS boys lost to Mount de Sales and were eliminated. (email@example.com)
ALBANY — With a single kick early Friday evening, Casey Kincheloe stood alone in the Deerfield-Windsor record book.
And now, the entire Lady Knights soccer team is two wins from standing alongside their senior leader in DWS lore.
Kincheloe, who tied the school record for career goals on Tuesday, added two more Friday to become the all-time leading scorer in program history and led the Lady Knights to a 3-1 victory against Mount de Sales in the quarterfinals of the GISA Class AAA state playoffs, taking the team one step closer to the first soccer state title in school history.
History came 10 minutes into Friday’s game when Kincheloe, the 2012 Herald Player of the Year, knocked a penalty kick into the left corner of the net for her 113th career goal, dethroning Callie Hughey as the program’s leading scorer.
“I knew once I placed that ball down that it was going in,” Kincheloe said. “But when I sat (the ball) down, it hit me that if I make it I break the record.”
It was a record that was meant for the star midfielder.
“She is all by herself,” DWS boys and girls coach Aly Joslin said. “As soon as the penalty was given and she took the ball, I knew she wasn’t going to miss. She is a great player, and she can change games.”
The Lady Knights (15-3) have now won nine in a row and are in the Final 4 for the first time in two years. They will try to become the first girls soccer team in school history to play in the state title game with a win in Wednesday’s semifinal game at home against Westminster.
“Words can’t even describe being this close to a state championship,” Kincheloe said. “It’s emotional. It’s exciting. I can’t even describe the feeling.”
Excitement started as nervousness Friday evening as the Lady Knights allowed a goal two minutes after Kincheloe’s record breaker, and the teams when into halftime tied at 1-1.
But 20 seconds into the second half, Kincheloe dribbled down the sideline and put a shot on goal, which was deflected by the Mount de Sales goalkeeper and knocked in by DWS eighth-grader Kendyll Freeman.
“Casey crossed the ball, and I just happened to be there to finish it off,” Freeman said. “This team is strong and has a lot of experience with our seniors, but we also have some younger players who are strong.”
The entire DWS team stood strong in the second half, keeping the Lady Cavaliers off the scoreboard and controlling possession for most of the 40 minutes.
“I think the nerves took over in the first half, but in the second half we changed things, and they came out and did what we asked them to do,” Joslin said.
Kincheloe got her second score of the game with 3:23 left when Haley Kincheloe, Casey’s younger sister, stole a Lady Cavaliers goal kick and crossed it to Casey, who punched it into the net to give DWS an all-important insurance goal.
DWS boys’ season ended by MDS
ALBANY — Deerfield-Windsor’s Andrew Sullivan started thinking about next season the moment he stepped off the field.
The season-ending 3-0 loss to Mount de Sales in the Elite 8 of the GISA Class AAA soccer tournament was a heartbreaker, but Sullivan understood that it was just the beginning.
For Sullivan, the Knights’ leading scorer, Friday’s loss was a baby step in what could be a Deerfield dynasty.
“We only lose one senior from this team, and next year we are going to come back stronger and better,” Sullivan said. “We are all coming back, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we went past this round next year. With all the talent we have now maturing, I think we will be fine.”
The youthful Knights (11-3) — who started one eighth-grader, five freshmen and three sophomores — were no match for the Cavaliers, who looked a head taller and a step quicker.
Mount de Sales jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute when Eric Kline dribbled through the DWS defense and snuck a shot into the corner of the net just past the hands of Knights goalkeeper Brantley Talley.
Talley made a diving save 17 minutes later to keep the Knights down just one goal at halftime — the same deficit the Knights had in Tuesday’s opening-round game against Loganville Christian, which they came back to win, 5-1.
There was no coming back on Friday.
“The boys were fantastic all season,” Joslin said. “But you are playing against a team that has played together for a while and is experienced. Hopefully next year that becomes us.”
Mount de Sales added two more goals in the second half — a Lucas Lekas score with 33 minutes left on a through ball and a Sean Kelly score with 22 minutes left after Talley and Deerfield’s Ben Shellhaas collided in the box, letting the ball roll into the open grass just in front of the goal.
“Everyone kept saying that this would be a rebuilding season and that we were just a bunch of eighth-graders,” Talley said. “I would have thought I would be angry right now after this loss, but I’m not. We played a really good game, and we will be even better next season.”
FPCA 7, TERRELL ACADEMY GIRLS SOCCER 2: For the first time in more than three years Terrell Academy’s girls soccer team won’t be going to the Final Four.
The Lady Eagles ran into powerhouse First Presbyterian Christian Academy on Friday night and lost in the Elite 8 round of the GISA Class AA state playoffs.
Maura Milliron and Brittney Spillman each scored for Terrell Academy.
“I was very proud of them,’’ said TAE coach Veann Farr, who will see five seniors leave her team. “FPCA is a good team. They’re a real good team.’’