WHEELING - Parkersburg wrapped up its 10th regional boys soccer after scoring two first-half goals in a 2-0 win against Morgantown during Tuesday's Class AAA, Region I championship at Wheeling Island Stadium.
The fourth-ranked Big Reds (18-2-2) advance to next weeks (Nov. 8) state semifinals at the YMCA Youth Sports Complex in Beckley. Second-ranked Morgantown ends the campaign at 17-4-2.
"In the second half, Morgantown had a couple of close looks and started putting the pressure on us, so I thought we were really fortunate," said PHS assistant coach Donnie Fosselman said. Due to two yellow cards in their previous match, Big Red coach Don Fosselman was unable to be on the sidelines for last night's match.
Parkersburg wasted little time putting the first goal on the scoreboard. Just 69 seconds into the match, Evan Rhodes' throw-in deep in Morgantown territory was just as productive as a corner kick because teammate Hunter Hill was waiting in the front of the net and headed the ball into a vacated net.
"We have multiple people who can throw really far on the throw-ins, but it's really something to be able to throw it across the box and have somebody there," Rhodes said. "It's a huge advantage."
The Big Reds struck for a second goal in the first half. Again Rhodes had a say. After a Morgantown defender was whistled for a foul, the Big Reds set up for the direct kick 20 yards away from the net. Similar to a one-timer, Tyler Bro slid the ball to Rhodes, who fired a laser and the shot whistled past the Mohigan keeper for a 2-0 lead with 20:02 still remaining before intermission.
"The guys were nervous everybody played nervous," said Morgantown coach Joe Melia. "Parkersburg is a great team and always has been. They knew what they were doing when they came out and we were on our heels. It took us a while to get into the game, and apparently by then it was too late."
Hill nearly posted his second goal of the match with 10 minutes left in the first half. At point-blank range, teammate Tommy Logston nailed the right post and Hill was waiting for the rebound just outside the net area but keeper Daniel Berrebi snuffed out the opportunity. For the first half, PHS attempted eight shots on goal compared to just three for Morgantown. The Mohigans gave PHS a scare on several attempts, starting with Zachary Kilwein's shot which deflected off a Big Red defender and was hauled in by keeper Reid Strobl.
Also trying to snap the drought for Morgantown was Qussay Sagr, who let loose from 20 yards away several minutes later. Again, Strobl was up to the task on the low liner.
Sagr kept attacking and gained control of the possession near the corner of the net with nine minutes showing, but his shot attempt hit the side of the net.
In the second half, Morgantown sent a barrage of shots in the vicinity of Strobl. The Mohigans were credited with five shots on goal in the final 40 minutes, but several more flew toward Strobl.
"All I wanted from after that first half was for them to come our hard and play the way they know how to play," Melia said."Win or lose, that's what I wanted them to remember was that second half. Because the first half, Parkersburg really brought it to us."
PHS allowed just one shot on goal from within 40 yards in the final 20 minutes, thus clinching the third straight postseason shutout for the Big Reds.
"I was just thinking shutout, shutout, shutout," Strobl said. "Our offense has always been good, but we thrive on our defense and that's what counts in the playoffs. The barrages come and go and you just have to be ready for them. And this game I was ready for them."Morgantown girls down South, 1-0
Morgantown 1, South 0
WHEELING Offensive scoring chances were few and far between as the Parkersburg South girls soccer team lost 1-0 to Morgantown in a Class AAA, Region I championship Tuesday night at Wheeling Island Stadium.
The Patriots registered a total of four shots on goal, but none occurred closer than 30 yards from the keeper.
"We had some chances, but we just couldn't find the net plus, we didn't get any quality chances and that's in part to their defending soundly," South coach Ron Bucholtz said.
Providing the game-winner for Morgantown (16-1-4) was Maggie Snively with just under seven minutes remaining in the first half.
The play originated near midfield as teammate Karina Collins intercepted a pass and hit Snively in stride 25 yards away from the net. Sprinting down the right side of the field, Snively kept the dribble as she penetrated inside the box. Her shot went to the far post and and past the outstretched arms of South keeper Alexis Skinner for a 1-0 Morgantown lead.
"It's just great to watch a kid give everything they have and burn it like that," Morgantown coach Ashley Neal said. "That's all heart and determination. She made that run two or three times tonight."
The second-ranked Mohigans advance to the state semifinals scheduled for the YMCA Youth Sports Complex in Beckley on Friday, Nov. 8. "This is everything you play for the postseason," Neal said. "You play to keep playing and don't want the ride to end. I really enjoy being around these girls.
South, meanwhile graduates 11 seniors and was forced to play without one of its starters in Taylor Life, who suffered an injury last week in the sectional finals against Brooke.
"We had one defensive letdown and Morgantown made good on it with the breakaway and the goal," Buckholtz said. "Other than that, I thought we played them admirably. Not having Taylor Life was a little bit of a hole in the midfield. She and Emily Brezler had been dominating all season."
On the turf, Skinner was playing with an MCL sprain. All told, Skinner made seven stops. On one occasion, 10 minutes in the first half, Markayla Schmidt slipped through two defenders and at point blank range ripped a shot that Skinner smacked away to keep the match scoreless
"Their keeper was phenomenal tonight," Neal said. "She really kept them in the game and made some phenomenal saves."
Morgantown keeper Katie Sharpe finished with four saves and increased the number of Morgantown shutouts to 13 this season. The Mohigans have allowed just eight goals in 21 matches.