RIPLEY - Charleston Catholic's goal was to become a team by the end of the season and the Fighting Irish are coming together at the right time.
Four different players scored goals as the four-time defending state champion Irish pounced on Parkersburg Catholic for a 5-0 win Thursday night in the Class AA-A Region 4 final. A crowd of about 200 attended the matchup of state-ranked teams on the turf at Ripley High School.
Charleston Catholic (14-3-3), which finished No. 1 in the state coaches association final rankings, will square off with East Fairmont, a 5-0 winner over Oak Glen, at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 8 at Carter Field in the state tournament semifinals at the YMCA Youth Soccer Complex in Beckley.
It's been a sometimes bumpy ride for the Irish, who graduated three of their top four goal scorers and starting keeper from last year's team and broke in first-year coach Domenic Cipollone.
Charleston Catholic saw its 64-match unbeaten streak end and the Irish suffered three losses, including back-to-back defeats, which hasn't occurred since 2008.
"We've grown as a team this year and became closer,'' said Irish junior Roger Burdette, who netted two goals Thursday. "We grew as a team and bonded in those losses. They helped us out. It says a lot about Catholic soccer and how we prepare and play. They seniors all left and they were really good and we just want to be like them.''
It only took Charleston Catholic until the 11th minute to get things going as junior Thad Jameson broke the ice for a 1-0 lead. Irish sophomore Anthony Cipollone followed in the 23rd minute then Burdette netted his first one in the 27th minute and sophomore Tommy Trupo finished off the opening-half barrage in the 38th minute. Burdette tacked on his second tally in the 65th minute to set the final score.
"I think as we played we learned (Parkersburg Catholic)
Parkersburg Catholic was going to be better than we thought they were,'' Burdette said. "We tried to pick it up and we did what we needed to win.''