PARKERSBURG - A senior foursome of Zac Wilcoxen, Tyler Broadwater,. Garrett Kruger and Cameron Morris were the primary catalysts in Parkersburg High's 2-0 Class AAA boys sectional soccer championship victory over visiting Wheeling Park Wednesday night at Stadium Field.
The win, with keeper Reid Strobl shutting out the Patriots, propelled the Big Reds, now 15-3-4, into the Region I finals with a trip to the state tournament in Beckley on the line.
And PHS will at home again next Thursday, Oct. 25 for the regional showdown versus the winner of tonight's University-Morgantown sectional final.
Wheeling Park's Eric Bonar, right, heads the ball away from Parkersburg's Garrett Kruger Wednesday during their sectional tournament final in Parkersburg. Parkersburg scored a 2-0 victory with Kruger scoring one of the two goals.
Photos by Jeff Baughan
Parkersburg's Zac Wilcoxen kicks the ball as teammate Hunter Hill, left, and Wheeling Park's Jacob Klatt trail the play on Wednesday during the Big Reds’ sectional tournament final game against Wheeling Park. Parkersburg scored a 2-0 victory.
Both Park, finishing its season with an 11-8-3 record, and the Big Reds were on the attack right from the start Wednesday. Strobl made a pair of key saves to keep the match scoreless until Kruger drilled the ball into the right corner of the net from nearly 25 yards out slightly to the left at the 21:50 mark of the first half for a 1-0 lead.
Then less than a minute into the second half at 39:08, Morris, off an assist from Broadwater, fired a bullet past the diving Park keeper from 25 yards out right in front of the goal to make it 2-0.
''Before the game, we talked about that 'you've got to play for something, but the most important thing is play for your seniors - they're the guys who have got you where you are right now,' '' related PHS head coach Don Fosselman. ''Broadwater, Wilcoxen, Morris and Kruger - those four, they're the heart of this team. And they played their hearts out tonight.''
The Big Reds had beaten the Patriots ironically by the same 2-0 score and on the same field way back on Aug. 18 at the start of the season.
Fosselman, who won his 23rd sectional title Wednesday in his 25 years at the Big Red soccer helm, knew that the Partiots would be a formidable foe. ''They're a good team and (head coach) Mario (Julian) is such a good coach who does a great job - he got the most out of his team tonight,'' said Fosselman.
''But I'm proud of my kids and the way they stepped up tonight. We play really good as a team, but have to work really hard for what we get.''
And what that's gotten the Big Reds to at this juncture of the season, which is one win from away from a state-tournament berth.