FLATWOODS Chances are good that if you only saw one goal scored in the Russell-Boyd County match on Tuesday night, it was scored by a Blanke, assisted on by a Blanke — or both.

Lena Blanke, the lone senior Lady Devil, scored Russell’s first two goals. Eva Blanke, her freshman sister, scored the last two, sandwiched around Ava Quinn’s tally. The result was a 5-0 Lady Devils victory.

Lena and Eva are two of the three Blanke sisters on the Russell pitch. Ryan, a sophomore, is a defender.

“We play really good together,” Lena Blanke said. “We’ve played together in the past too, so I think that helps, playing with (Eva) for years. We connect really good on the field.”

Russell won its 63rd District seeding opener by knocking off the team that ended its season last year. The last time the Lady Devils and the Lady Lions met, Boyd County ended a 31-game losing streak by beating Russell, 4-3, in last year’s district tournament semifinal.

“There’s always a little desire for retribution,” Russell coach John Perry said, “especially when you go on a tear for a few years and don’t lose to a team and then they keep from the region (tournament) last year. We wanted this game, and we got it.”

Lena Blanke began that in the 19th minute when her long strike struck Boyd County’s goalie’s hand and leaked across the goal line. She doubled that edge in the 46th minute, heading home Eva Blanke’s corner kick.

Three minutes later, Quinn won a one-on-one with the Lady Lions’ keeper, and then it was the youngest Blanke’s turn. Eva finished off Lena’s cross in the 36th minute, and tallied once more five minutes from full time.

Russell (1-2, 1-0 district seeding) yielded five goals in each of its first two contests , identical 5-2 losses to Fredrick Douglass and Prestonsburg. The Lady Devils were happy to generate more offense on Tuesday — and almost had more, with three shots hitting the woodwork.

“First two games, we didn’t really have a whole lot of offense going on,” Perry said. “We had some opportunities but couldn’t capitalize on them. It was nice to see our forwards and our midfielders really get to put the ball in the back of the net.”

Lena Blanke is Russell’s only senior. That has caused a change in mentality for the Lady Devils, who have had upperclassman-dominated teams in most recent years.

“It’s a learning curve for the coaching staff and the girls,” Perry said. “We’re used to such experience on the field. I figured, especially with how the preseason went, it’d be a little bit of a slow roll (to start) , but I think now that we’ve got the wheels moving and the rust broken off a little bit, we’ll start rolling downhill.”

Russell and Ashland meet next Tuesday to determine the top seed in the district tournament and automatic bid to the 16th Region Tournament. Boyd County is slotted into the No. 3 seed.

Lady Lions (0-2, 0-2 district seeding) coach Billy Kemper wasn’t overly concerned with Tuesday’s result, he said, preferring to focus on where Boyd County is headed.

“We’ve been running a lot. Our legs are really still heavy right now,” Kemper said. “We’re losing the 50-50 balls, so we should get fresher legs here in about 10 days, two weeks.

“We’ll be OK here in a couple of weeks. It’ll look totally different.”

(606) 326-2658 |

zklemme@dailyindependent.com

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