Oldham County trailed nearly the entire night against Collegiate, but the Lady Colonels rallied late to pull out a 10-7 win in its final regular season game on May 3 in Buckner.
The Lady Colonels completed the comeback down a player after senior Mallory Stark was issued a second yellow card with 15 minutes to play and OCHS still trailing.
“That says a whole lot about seniors,” OCHS coach Jeff Veech said. “When we play a man down, we’re short on defense. We only gave up three goals in the second half down a player, so that’s huge. For them to be able to overcome being down a man for 30% of that game is unbelievable.”
OCHS remained within a pair of goals all night but never led until junior Ava Gerdes found the back of the net to put the Lady Colonels ahead 7-6 with just under 10 minutes to play.
Freshman Tatum Millet capped a strong night with a pair of goals in the closing minutes to give Oldham County breathing room.
OCHS got behind 4-2 in the first half before scoring twice to knot the game up at its midpoint.
Veech said Oldham County’s conditioning allowed its fast-paced offense to flourish in the second half, a strength of the team all season.
“Our girls will tell you they’re a second half team because the other team starts getting tired and they’re still going,” Veech said. “In the second half, when we started pushing the ball, they started having trouble staying with us and playing defense. That’s why all the whistles started coming through and we started getting a lot of penalties.”
Veech had never watched lacrosse until his daughter, senior Jenna Veech, joined the team as a freshman, but he took the reins of the program entering this season out of necessity.
“I got this position because not a single person applied for it, so I started doing things in the fall and winter,” Veech said. “I told them that I’m going to get them in shape. How much of the sport they learn will be up to the (assistant coaches), but they had to buy into that.”
While he acknowledged that his lacrosse knowledge is limited, he’s left his stamp on the program, with the help of assistant coaches Ashley Phenix and Lydia Clay. Phenix works with the defense, Clay works with the goalies and Veech runs the offense, which he said he learned entirely on YouTube.
“If it was me (as an athlete) and a lacrosse coach came in and took over my baseball program, I’d probably be a little hesitant to buy into what they were saying,” Veech said. “But Ashley and Clay have both been unbelievable helps in getting this going. I told them both that if I ever do or say something stupid, just tell me because I’m trying to learn what’s going on.”
The program runs nearly 40 players deep, and though it only features four players with varsity experience prior to this season, it’s experienced a moderate amount of success with a 6-13 varsity record and No. 13 ranking in the state entering the postseason.
“They’re not only overcoming all of the inexperience at the varsity level, but they’re also overcoming a head coach who’s learned this sport on YouTube,” Veech said. “That’s a testament to how much work they’ve put in.”
And team chemistry has remained high. Nearly every player dresses for both varsity and junior varsity to create a sense of connectedness in the program.
“I’ve coached baseball for five seasons, I was a head wrestling coach for four, an assistant wrestling coach for four, and this is one of the tightest knit teams I’ve been around,” Veech said. “When you get in a game like tonight, that really comes through.”
The future appears to be bright for the program, as its junior varsity and freshman teams hold a combined record of 14-7, and the JV team recently finished runner up in the Braveheart Tournament, one of the hallmark events of the season in the state.
“There’s a lot of really good young players, and I told them that the next three years ought to be really fun and exciting around here,” Veech said.
Oldham County will face North Oldham in the region semifinals on May 8. The Lady Mustangs beat their county rival 10-7 and 9-3 in the teams’ two meetings this season.
“After what I just saw, I’m really excited about the opportunity to play them again on Monday,” Veech said. “We’re going to go out and push it, try to wear them out and hopefully that works.”
OLDHAM COUNTY 10, COLLEGIATE 7
Collegiate 4 3 – 7
Oldham County 4 6 – 10