PARKERSBURG - Nick Payne and Cam Morris scored goals in a span of 5:02 in the second half to snap a scoreless tie and Parkersburg High went on to down visiting University 2-1 Thursday night in the Class AAA Region 1 boys soccer championship game at Stadium Field.
PHS advances to the state tournament for the first time in four years. The 16-3-4 Big Reds will play George Washington in the state semifinals at 7 p.m. next Friday, Nov. 2 in Beckley, while with the loss, University finished its season at 11-7-4.
In the only PHS-GW meeting this season, the Patriots won 3-0 in Charleston on Sept. 4.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Parkersburg's Cameron Morris, right, and University's Ricky Biafora battle for the ball during their regional final match in Parkersburg Thursday. The Big Reds won, 2-1.
Big Red head coach Don Fosselman admitted he was ''worried'' at the half of the 0-0 game. ''I was in two minds because we were kind of controlling the game and were knocking on the door, knocking on the door, but just couldn't get one in,'' he said.
Then, though, the dam broke at 21:18 of the second half when Garrett Kruger got a pass to Payne, coming in on the left, and the junior put it past Hawk goalie Shane Thompson into the opposite side of the net for a 1-0 PHS lead.
Morris followed at the 16:16 mark, scoring off a corner throw-in by Evan Rhodes by getting to a loose ball in front of the net and booting it in for a two-goal advantage that lasted until 4:43 remained when University's Tommy Alappat narrowed the gap to 2-1 with a goal.
But PHS was careful, not careless the rest of the way, with only the one-goal lead, and prevailed.
''The shots on goal were so lopsided (13-2 in PHS' favor) that you worry about that as a coach - dominating and not getting any goals, and then they get one counter-attack,'' said Fosselman. ''You're still up on the scoreboard 2-1, but anything can happen.''
Fosselman, gunning for a seventh state championship in nine trips, was ''proud that our team just never quits - and they play hard. And we put a lot of people on the attack tonight, not just one or two guys, but five guys sometimes going at the goal.
''But I thought we over passed too much in the first half, then at halftime, we said, 'Just shoot the ball, just shoot it.' ''
The state tournament, added Fosselman, ''is what we spend all year working for - just to get back to the state.''