Lady Cardinals Brace for Tough Road Test Against Notre Dame in Elite Eight Showdown

LONDON — Lora Rison’s South Laurel Lady Cardinals are three wins away from bringing home a state championship, but it isn’t goi by to be easy.

South Laurel (14-6) makes a long trip to state power Notre Dame on Thursday with hopes (20-3-2) with hopes of knocking off the Pandas while advancing to the Final Four of the KHSAA Girls’ Soccer Sweet Sixteen. 

The Lady Cardinals are coming off a 2-0 win over Estill County, and hopes to have ridden all of the nerves they had to open up against the Lady Engineers.

“Our team came out with a lot of nervous jitters in the first round, it’s something we’ve worked on all season, and hopefully we can start confident and settled Thursday night,” Rison said. “Being one of the remaining eight teams is a huge accomplishment. The juniors and seniors on the team shared this experience two years ago, and have been working towards it ever since. Our girls are excited to be still playing, and know that they will most likely face our toughest competition of the season in Notre Dame.”

To beat Notre Dame, South Laurel must contain a team that possesses a lot of scoring weapons.

Kate Lenihan leads the Pandas with 12 goals, and is one of 18 players that have scored for Notre Dane this season.

The Lady Cardinals bring talent to the table as well.

Josie Gill leads South Laurel with 28 goals while also totaling 15 assists. Gracie Hoskins has 18 goals, and nine assists while Ella Rison has 14 goals, and a team-high 17 assists. Trinity Rogers, and Avery Souer have each scored six goals apiece while Morgan Taylor has four goals. Kenzie Hubbard, Megan Smith, and Brook Clontz have each scored one goal apiece.

Keeper Shelby Gambrel has done a fantastic job filling in for injured Tess Little. Gambrel has 93 saves, and four shut outs.

“This group has been playing together a long time, some as early as six years old,” Rison said. “The seniors share a true bond, and they are leaders to this team. Our girls have great chemistry and work together to make each other better. They have made this season’s’ accomplishments even sweeter. 

“Notre Dame always has an outstanding team, and this season is no different,” she added. “We are looking forward to the challenge. We know that we need to focus defensively and hold our composure.”

The game will be played at Notre Dame, and scheduled to start at 7 p.m.