Communication, positive reinforcement and a reminder of just what this team has been capable of all season long came together at just the right time, and with their recent struggles behind them, the Lyon County Lady Lyons are hoisting up another District 5 championship trophy all the same.
Abby Smith came up with eight big saves, and Rose Smith scored both of their goals in Lyon County's 2-1 win over Trigg County Tuesday night in Cadiz, stunning the host Lady Wildcats.
It was Lyon County's second straight district title, while Trigg County had lost four straight games now under coach Matthew Wilder.
Just a sophomore, Rose Smith now has scored 40 goals on the season after connecting on 34 as a freshman, and is the second-leading goal scorer in the entire Second Region behind Camryn LaGrange of Madisonville North Hopkins.
The Lady Lyons have now won three of their last four games heading into the Region 2 Tournament after a six-game losing streak that included a 4-3 loss to this same Trigg County team back on Sept. 23 in a match that went to penalty kicks.
The Lady Lyons have simply possessed something that can't be taught: togetherness. And on Tuesday night, leadership emerged from every last one of them.
"The stats will show that Rose had two goals, and she had to fight hard for those, but she could not have got there without the rest of the team working as hard as they did. Granted, she took a lot of hard punches tonight, but so did everybody else," head coach Abby Smith said.
"Destiny Dycus, Kate Gray, Jordyn Schofield and Christa Cummins really play that defensive line amazingly. When we had to make adjustments on the field, everybody played their position the right way. That shows that these girls understand the game, they understand each other, and I know how to play with each other. Our passing game has really improved as well as our ability to win kicks. I have always believed in this team, and the rest of the coaching staff has always believed in this team. These girls have always believed in each other and it showed tonight."
Both clubs will still advance to the Region 2 Tournament next week at Madisonville-North Hopkins, and Lyon County will be looking for its first Region 2 Tournament win since 2012 (a 3-0 victory over Christian County).
Trigg County was shorthanded without a few starters on hand, and Lyon County (9-12) took advantage as Rose Smith drew up the lead with the first goal in the 27th minute.
The Lady Wildcats (8-11) knew just who to prepare for in Rose, but they might not have anticipated the defensive line in Destiny Dycus, Kate Gray, Jordyn Schofield and Christa Cummins that would help hold Lyon County's pressure.
Lyon County settled in after a tough start, and its 1-0 lead would hold for nearly half an hour at just under 29 minutes.
Trigg County pulled even at 1-1 in the 56th when DAria Barbee scored her fourth goal of the season and finished a pristine kick just over the outstretched glove of Abby Smith.
It didn't last long, as Rose Smith put Lyon County ahead for good seven minutes later via a laser in the 63rd on a dish from Sydney Hoffman at 2-1, proving the eventual game winner as Trigg County failed to get past Kate Gray and a stifling Lady Lyon defense in the final 15 minutes.
The goal that Trigg County had was the only one Lyon County allowed in the entire tournament after the Lady Lyons shut out Crittenden County (0-18) the night before on Monday with a 4-0 semifinal win in Cadiz to get to championship Tuesday.
The Lady Lyons had already beaten Crittenden County twice this season, but both matches were only a one-goal difference.
The match was Crittenden County's 30th straight loss dating back to August of 2018.
Abby Smith had 10 saves in the goal, totaling 18 saves in the district tournament.
In the semifinal win, Rose Smith again scored two goals, while Emily Smith and Hoffman scored the other goals in a 4-0 decision that became the Lady Lyons' first shutout win since Aug. 27.
The Lady Lyons advanced to the Trigg County game with the win at the Recreation Complex, and finished with a 3-0 season sweep of the Lady Rockets.