PARKERSBURG - One win from the state tournament - a position a lot of athletes would like to be in during their high school careers.
For the members of 2012 Parkersburg High boys soccer team, that opportunity comes tonight at Stadium Field when the second-ranked Big Reds (15-3-4) will face off with visiting University (11-6-4) at 7:30 p.m. in the Class AAA Region 1 finals for a trip to the state tournament in Beckley next Friday and Saturday.
Of course, the PHS boys have had great success once they got to the state under the direction of head coach Don Fosselman with six state championships in eight trips.
But not to get ahead of ourselves, Fosselman made the point that University is ''really a good, solid team. They beat Morgantown to come out of a tough section over there. I don't think they have a star, but they have good players who play good soccer. We played them only one time this season - it was here and ended in a 3-3 tie (on Sept. 8).''
Fosselman admitted to ''getting spoiled a little bit over the years with wins and losses. But that's why I'm so proud of our guys this season. They've won 15 games - had to work for everything - and played good against some really tough teams and hung right in there with the best in the state.''
Fosselman said he's ''really enjoyed coaching this team, because I think basically it's just they realize the team is the most important part. We have to play as a team if we're going to be successful. And they've made sacrifices because I've moved a lot of guys around - guys like Tyler Bro and Garrett Kruger in particular - but discussed it with them first and they all were 'whatever helps the team, coach.' ''
Plus, Fosselman added, ''I think we have two of the best captains that I've ever had in my entire life in Tyler Broadwater and Zac Wilcoxen. They're like having two additional coaches on the team. The leadership qualities they have are unbelievable. We have a good enough relationship I can be honest with them about anything related to the team.''
On tonight's important game, ''we're anxious, but we're also very excited about it,'' said Fosselman. ''We welcome the opportunity, because this is what we live for here at PHS. We know what the expectations are. Do we always reach them? No, but we're always going to shoot high.''