Patriots celebrate with 4-0 win

PARKERSBURG – Senior night for the Parkersburg South girls soccer team recognized the equivalent of one starting lineup, and one of those involved in the halftime ceremony was Kirsten Jones who scored two second-half goals as the Patriots defeated Nitro 4-0 Monday at Erickson All-Sports Facility.

South, which improved to 11-5-2, was nursing a 1-0 lead with under 12 minutes remaining in regulation when Jones struck for two goals in a span of seven minutes. Two days prior to yesterday’s victory, Jones recorded a hat trick.

“We had many scoring opportunities but we just couldn’t get through,” Jones said. “This is a big night because the seniors are like my sisters. I grew up with most of them.”

The game-winner actually occurred at the 4:54 mark of the first half. Kristen Offutt set up for a direct kick from 35 yards out, and when Nitro keeper Ashley Stephens made the initial save the ball trickled out of her grasp. As the play developed, South’s Taylor Life found a seam in the Nitro defense, came sprinting into the box and received a pass from Cassandra Whitlatch where she converted the putback.

South made the 1-0 advantage stand up until intermission even though Nitro (4-9-1) had several open looks at the net go either wide or sail high over the crossbar in the final two minutes of the first half.

Nitro experienced a similar fate in the opening eight minutes of the second half.

The Wildcats were credited with just one shot on goal for the match only because the ball didn’t find South keeper Alexis Skinner.

“The second half, we started a little bit slower,” South coach Ron Bucholtz said. “We didn’t move the ball quite as well. Part of that was probably still the emotions from the big senior night at halftime.

“But they got their composure and Kirsten stepped it up nicely.”

The impact left by Jones first occurred at the 11:30 mark of the second half. She picked up a pass 35 yards from the net, and with a defender shadowing her she raced down the right hash mark.

With 10 yards separating her from the keeper, Jones let a shot go toward the opposite corner for the goal.

With South leading 2-0, Jones received assistance from Kenna Richards, who sent a pass into the box where Jones took possession and stuffed the shot past the keeper with 4:43 showing on the clock.

Richards added a goal on a shot with plenty of zip with 1:45 remaining.

South, which travels to Beckley to play Woodrow Wilson on Wednesday, outshot Nitro, 19-1.

“The team is playing some of its best soccer,” Bucholtz said. “If they play to their potential we can make a statement hopefully come playoff time in a week or so.”