GLASGOW — Barren County tied the match, then gained the lead, and then refused to allow the visiting Russellville Panthers to claw their way back into the game Thursday night in an impressive 6-2 victory for the Trojans.
Aden Nyekan scored five goals and goalkeeper Cody Copas came up with two penalty kick saves in the second half to end the Panthers' four-game winning streak. With the win, Barren County(5-2) has won four consecutive games and exceeded their number of victories from last season.
Russellville struck first with an early goal less than five minutes into the match. But Nyekan quickly responded with 33:38 left in the first half when he tied the match with Barren County's first goal.
Both teams would have more chances to score during the first 40 minutes, but the match was tied 1-1 at the half.
"At halftime, we talked about staying mentally in the game and being ready to play, and we did," Barren County coach Joe Mercer said.
Defensively and offensively, Barren County stepped up its intensity in the second half.
Nyekan, who has 18 goals on the season, broke the tie early in the second half with a goal. A few minutes later, he chipped a shot over the keeper's outstretched arms and Barren County extended its lead to 3-1.
With 21 minutes left in the game, Nyekan scored his fourth goal on an assist from Caleb Hester.
Copas blocked the first penalty kick attempt to keep the score at 4-1, and sophomore Landan Hester scored his first career goal to give the Trojans a commanding 5-1 lead.
Copas saved another penalty shot for Barren County late in the match. Mercer said those were big saves for the Trojans.
"If he doesn't come up with those saves, it's a 6-4, tight game coming down the stretch," Mercer said
Nyekan's fifth goal of the match came with 11:24 remaining in the match. Russellville added a late goal, but it was too little, too late and Barren County held on for the win.
The Trojans will host North Bullitt at 5:30 p.m. Monday.