South girls top PHS, advance in sectionals

PARKERSBURG – The Parkersburg South girls soccer team withstood a flurry from the Parkersburg attackers for what seemed like an eternity and defeated the Big Reds 1-0 in a Class AAA, Region, I, Section 1 semifinal Monday night at Stadium Field.

“They really went at us for about the last 10 minutes,” South coach Ron Bucholtz said. “They were putting good pressure on us. They couldn’t get off any quality shots – we blocked a lot of them.

“They had the one good shot that was floating in that (South keeper) Alexis Skinner got a hand on and deflected into post.”

Bucholtz referred to the shot on goal by PHS defender Lauren Leaman from nearly 30 yards outside the net with 45 seconds left in regulation. The attempt was knocked away by Skinner, off the left post and out of harm’s way.

The Big Reds made one last-ditch effort on a header by Abby Johnson which sailed over the net just before time expired.

“Yeah, we hit the post – sometimes the ball bounces your way and sometimes it doesn’t,” PHS coach Kristen Schreiber said. “South needed to do what they had to and that was put the ball in the back of the net, and we didn’t. Our girls need to learn to score the goal, which we struggled with all season.”

The Patriots improve to 13-6-2 and will play host to Brooke at 6:30 p.m. in Wednesday’s sectional final at the Erickson All-Sports Facility. PHS graduates three seniors from a team which finished the campaign at 11-6-3.

“It stinks that we lose those three seniors and it stings a little more that it was against South,” Schreiber said. “But the fortunate thing is that we lose only three. I hope this taste stays in their mouth and next year we come out with a bit more thirst, and we make it to state next year.”

The only goal of the night occurred midway in the first half and originated from a steal at midfield by South senior Emily Brezler. Instead of passing off to a teammate, Brezler took the initiative and dribbled the ball another 25 yards. From the right hashmark, she attempted a shot on goal toward the opposite side of net.

The ball glanced off the left post and escaped past PHS keeper Taylor Beckley for a 1-0 Patriot lead at the 21:42 mark.

“I’ve had other goals, but this one felt incredible.” Brezler said. “I was dribbling and looking for the three-ball to Kirsten (Jones) or Alli (Jones) and they just left me a wide open lane. So I just had to shoot it. “I wasn’t expecting that from the PHS defense because they had been doing pretty good job. But when they didn’t close on me right away, I knew I had to take the shot.”

Beckley stopped a total of five shots for the Big Reds, while her counterpart (Skinner) finished with eight saves. At this same venue during the regular season, the Patriots won by an identical 1-0 score.

“Those last shots by (PHS) were nervewracking, but at least we were able to get the ball out of the middle of the goal,” Skinner said. “We were frantic by what was going on.”