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Paul Laurence Dunbar 2 Covington Catholic 1 (2021 Boys' Soccer State Championship)


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The wait is finally over, and Saturday at 4:00 at Frederick Douglass the last KY Boys' soccer game of the year will take place between the Bulldogs of Dunbar and the Colonels of CovCath.  Not the final that anyone would have expected when the Sweet 16 bracket was released, but fair play to both teams, they have more than earned their way here.  The bottom-half of the draw had North Oldham, Daviess County, Manual, and South Warren...and it is CovCath that comes out the other side after 3 wins away from NKY and Park Hills.  Dunbar was the clear favorite to come out of the top-half of the bracket, and they have done nothing in the last 3 games to change anyone's mind about their quality and their level of play right now.

To give you an idea how improbable CovCath's run to the State Championship game has been, only twice has a team entered this ultimate game with more losses since 1999:  LexCath in 2004 was 14-10-2 entering the game and WON, and Daviess County in 2010 entered the game at 17-9-1 and LOST.  Beyond that, since 1999, NO TEAM has entered the Championship game with more non-wins (losses or ties), only Greenwood in 2009 (with 11) was even close to CovCath's 13 non-wins.  So the Colonels, at 14-8-5, are among the most unlikely State Champion participants we've seen in the last 21 years.  

While the Colonels are sporting that 14-8-5 record, they are obviously riding an 8 game post-season winning streak, and since September 12th, when they got back 1st Team All State Keeper Carter Eilers, and mid-field senior captain Steve Weil, they are 12-2, with both losses coming by a single goal (at Dixie 0-1 and at Trinity 1-2).  Whatever sports cliche' you want to use, peaking at the right time, coming together, hitting their stride when it mattered...they all apply here.  You could argue that they have been an underdog in their last 5 post-season wins (at Somerset would have likely been a toss-up, given the Colonels had to travel south and play on Somerset's unique pitch), and they certainly will be a large underdog in Saturday's Championship Game.  

Dunbar, on the other hand, enter at 21-3-2, and have been a consensus Top 5 team from kick-off in mid-August.  They not only are battle-tested, coming out of the brutal 11th Region (where they went an eye-popping 13-0-0 within the 11th), but they have perhaps the best high school player in the state, Isaac Cano and his 33 goals against a GREAT schedule.  They also get the advantage, however slight, of playing this game in their home-town, so while CovCath travels well, Dunbar should absolutely have a decided advantage in support on their side as well on Saturday.

Their Mutual Opponents:

*  Cooper:  Dunbar beat them 5-1; CovCath tied them 0-0

*  Montgomery Co.:  Dunbar lost to them 0-2; CovCath beat them 3-2 in PK's

*  Lexington Catholic:  Dunbar beat them 6-2, 2-1, and 2-1; CovCath beat them 4-3

*  St. Henry:  Dunbar beat them 6-2; CovCath beat them 3-1 and 2-1

*  Highlands:  Dunbar lost to them 2-5; CovCath lost to them 0-1 and beat them 1-0 in PK's

So Dunbar was 5-2 against mutual opponents, and CovCath was 5-1-1.

During each team's 8 game post-season run through districts, regions, and the first 3 rounds of the State Tournament, Dunbar has scored 25 goals and allowed 8 with only 2 clean-sheets.  CovCath has scored 23 goals (21 and 2 PK wins, actually) and allowed only 4 goals with 5 clean-sheets.

The game should come down to whether or not Cano and get loose for the Bulldogs, because CovCath has been very stingy on the defensive end all year, so scoring goals in this one will be a premium.  CovCath doesn't have the dependable goal scorer that Dunbar has, so they are going to need someone to step up, and then they are likely going to have to hold Dunbar to 0 or 1 goal to have a shot to pull another monumental upset.

Most likely outcome, even given my 9th Region bias, is Dunbar 2-0.

Congrats to both teams, making it to this game is a terrific achievement, I am sure both schools and their fan-bases are beyond proud and excited for their young men, and certainly these shared experiences for the last few weeks will stay with these boys for the rest of their lives.  Very cool stuff.  The weather on Saturday is expecting to be cold and rainy, so less than optimal conditions, which could throw another wrench into things, but I hope both sides play hard, play well, play with great team spirit and sportsmanship, and may everyone stay healthy.  

Only two boys' high school soccer teams in the state will be practicing today:  CovCath and Dunbar....congratulations, enjoy it, and savor this opportunity.

Thanks for reading this year, it has been fun, hope you've enjoyed it.   Good luck Bulldogs & Colonels!

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Worth adding, both of these teams know their way around this State Championship Game!  Dunbar has 4 State Titles (1992, 2001, 2005, and 2013), and has been the state runner-up two other times (1993 and 2012).

CovCath has 1 state title (2015 -- NKY's only state championship) and has 3 times been a runner-up (1983, 1998, and 2016).

Two worthy and traditionally strong programs battling for Kentucky's Soccer Hardware!

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7 hours ago, The Double Deuce said:

Worth adding, both of these teams know their way around this State Championship Game!  Dunbar has 4 State Titles (1992, 2001, 2005, and 2013), and has been the state runner-up two other times (1993 and 2012).

CovCath has 1 state title (2015 -- NKY's only state championship) and has 3 times been a runner-up (1983, 1998, and 2016).

Two worthy and traditionally strong programs battling for Kentucky's Soccer Hardware!

The one and only year the KHSAA had both spring and fall state championships for soccer...although not the only year they had both spring and fall soccer seasons. The KHSAA decided there weren't enough soccer teams competing in the 1974-75, 1976-77, 1977-78, and 1978-79 school years to bother conducting at state tournament, so no state champion was named those years.

Cov Cath's 1983 was runner up trophy came via a 3-2 loss to Male in the spring edition of the soccer season.

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From the KHSAA:

A box score from today's championship game, a list of award winners and the completed state bracket can be found through the links below.

Paul Laurence Dunbar 2, Covington Catholic 1 (Box Score & Play-by-Play)
https://khsaa.org/soccer/2021/stats/boys07.pdf

Award Winners
https://khsaa.org/soccer/2021/boysawards.pdf

Bracket
https://khsaa.org/soccer/2021/boysstatebracket.pdf
 

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  • theguru changed the title to Paul Laurence Dunbar 2 Covington Catholic 1 (2021 Boys' Soccer State Championship)

Congrats to the Bulldogs of Dunbar! Its hard to believe that 19 days ago Douglass missed a one on one 10 foot shot with under a minute to go to defeat Dunbar in the first round of the 11th region tournament and went on to lose in a penalty kick shootout. That is why they play the game. Congrats again to Dunbar!

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2 minutes ago, 16thBBall Fan said:

Congrats to the Bulldogs of Dunbar! Its hard to believe that 19 days ago Douglass missed a one on one 10 foot shot with under a minute to go to defeat Dunbar in the first round of the 11th region tournament and went on to lose in a penalty kick shootout. That is why they play the game. Congrats again to Dunbar!

Soccer is a funny game to me.  

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