Spears’ four goals lead Parkersburg to victory

South Charleston’s Makayla George gets converged on by Parkersburg’s Sarah McDonnell, left, and Madison Spears. Spears scored four times and McDonnell once as the Big Reds defeated the Black Eagles, 5-1, Thursday night at Stadium Field. Photo by Jay W. Bennett.

PARKERSBURG — Freshman Madison Spears tallied her first career hat trick and host Parkersburg climbed back to the .500 mark here Thursday evening as the Big Reds jumped out on South Charleston early en route to a 5-1 Mountain State Athletic Conference victory at Stadium Field.

“Not that I remember,” Spears replied when asked if she ever had a hat trick in her career on any level.

Spears found the back of the net with 10 seconds left in third minute thanks to a Jordan Balog assist and it was 2-0 PHS, which has won four of its last five matches, when Spears got an unassisted tally in the fifth minute.

Carli Black’s feed in the box to Spears made it 3-0 in the 24th minute, which also was the halftime score.

“We’ve been getting a lot better and it’s really making me happy,” Spears added. “I was pretty excited about the hat trick, but I also want my other teammates to score so I was trying to get those assists.

“It’s a fun experience being on varsity and I love the girls, every single one of them, and they are really fun to be around.”

South Charleston keeper Savannah Parsons faced a barrage of shots and finished with 16 saves. The Black Eagles, who fell to 1-4 and head for a noon match Saturday to Chapmanville, tried to make a run in the 14th minute when Maggie Britt got the ball ahead to Jara Oden, but Brayden McNickle thwarted the effort. A minute later, Alexis Wells had a steal, but Britt’s shot was off the mark.

Prior to the Big Reds’ third goal, SCHS’ Makayla George had a through in the 19th minute to Wells, but nothing materialized. About 60 seconds later, Big Red Alexa Kotarski fed Olivia Taitt in the box, but her shot clanked off the post.

Just before the break, McNickle had a shot bounce off the crossbar following a corner kick by Alex Queen. The ensuing header off the rebound by Maddi Leggett went just wide. Jennifer Morris had a long direct kick in the 38th minute, but couldn’t get it past Parsons.

The 4-4 Big Reds, who will look to avenge a 5-1 season-opening setback to rival Parkersburg South with a 1:30 p.m. varsity start on Saturday afternoon back at Stadium Field, got an unassisted tally from Spears in the 46th minute. Spears then assisted on Sarah McDonnell’s goal in the 49th minute for a 5-0 cushion.

Big Red keeper Sophie Thompson lost her shutout bid in the 61st minute when she came out of the box, but was unable to corral the ball. That allowed Black Eagle Genevieve Potter to find an open Britt in the middle of the pitch and she scored easily.

“Once we got a few goals in we could kind of tell what the game was going to be like, but I just wanted us to focus on doing the little things the right way as far as passing goes,” said PHS head man Eric McCoy.

“I just wanted us to get as much as we can out of this game. We want to focus on the process and how we do things.”