A look-back at Wednesday’s Ripley-South soccer showdown

Parkersburg South’s Callie Leasure passes the ball while Ripley’s Cassidy Miller tries to regain her footing during a high school soccer match Wednesday in Ripley. Photo by Steve Hemmelgarn.

RIPLEY — Talk about a ding-dong dilly of a soccer game!

Parkersburg South and Ripley really put one on Wednesday night in the Class AAA Region IV, Section 1 girls soccer championship tussle at Memorial Stadium.

The Patriot girls won 1-0, with the only goals in the game coming in a 5-on-5 penalty-kick shootout after 80 minutes of regulation play and then two 10-minute overtime periods.

South (12-5-3) prevailed 3-1 in the shootout against a Viking squad that came into the game at 17-1 as the MSAC champion, but both teams fought all the way down to the final end of a long night of soccer. No one deserved to lose this fabulously-played match.

Ripley was the aggressor from the start as Patriot goalie Sophia Miler kept knocking, catching and batting away shots on goal for probably six or seven saves in the first half alone.

But then South got it going more up to Ripley’s pace offensively and packed it in deep defensively as well.

There was one real scrum for the ball with five minutes left in the second half in front of the net involving a lot of players from both sides until Miller finally was able to swat the ball away.

In fact, the match was a physical one with five players injured and helped off the field, but most returned eventually to the action.

In the overtimes, both teams had valid scoring opportunities, but couldn’t get the ball in the net.

“We defended magnificently in that game,” said South head coach Ron Bucholtz after the match.

But Bucholtz had nothing but praise for Ripley too. “They’re a very good team,” he said. “They’re very fit, zipping around the field, and they play a very aggressive style, putting a lot of pressure on us. And we bent, but we didn’t break fortunately. Sophia (Miller) not only had some nice saves, but some really nice ones as well.”

Bucholtz thought defense was the key for South, “because we had very few chances at their end of the field since Ripley’s high pressure with their fitness takes you out of your rhythm.”