PHS boys one win away from state
PARKERSBURG — Two teams remain after the regular season and sectional dust settled in Class AAA’s Region IV boys soccer pod.
Parkersburg High (17-2-3) and Hurricane (17-1-4) meet to decide who goes to next week’s state tournament at Paul Cline Memorial Sports Complex in Beckley at 7 p.m. Wednesday inside Parkersburg High’s Stadium Field.
“I am very excited we get to play at home,” said PHS head coach Don Fosselman, whose team technically has a home game and is 100 percent healthy. “We are very comfortable here and get to dress in our locker room. More fans can come out and support us too. It is a plus we can play in our own stadium.”
Kiran Patel’s putback of an Isaiah Owen rebound in the 59th minute proved the game-winner in the Big Reds’ 3-1 Section 1 triumph over Ripley.
When asked if he thought his team would be here after losing a lot of experience from one season ago Fosselman replied in the affirmative.
“I really thought this team could challenge throughout the whole state with Parker Miller, Matt Runyon, Ian Domenick, and Jacob McKnight — our four captains,” he said. “Not only do they bring great soccer, but they bring great leadership. My four captains are captains for a reason — they lead on and off the field. They just do a really good job. They are the ones who tighten everything up and are so encouraging to the other kids and making them feel like they belong. The key Wednesday is just being together and playing together. That is what I am going to talk about in the locker room.”
Meanwhile, Hurricane raced by Cabell Midland, 3-1, for a shot at glory.
This winner-takes-all matchup marks the third battle between these two teams on the season, and the second straight regional final contest. PHS advanced to the state tournament last year after a 3-1 victory.
As for this season, the board reads 1-0-1 against the Redskins for Fosselman’s team. The Big Reds Anthony Fleshman and ‘Skins Ryan Fisher each tallied a goal in a 1-1 tie back on Sept. 28.
All the league marbles were on the line in the second matchup during the Mountain State Athletic Conference finals. However, the contest wasn’t any where near as competitive as PHS captured a 3-0 triumph.
“They had their best player out,” said Fosselman. “He was red carded out of the game. They weren’t a complete team. They are so good. They possess the ball well and like to control it out of the back to find one of their up people. They are excellent.
“Colton Jones is a really good player for them. Drake Lester and Jackson Snavely are great players too and their goal keeper Dalton Burch is top notch.”
Parkersburg’s coach was adamant fans should not look to the MSAC title contest as a precursor to Wednesday night’s meeting because the Redskins will be at full strength.
“This could come down to a shootout,” he said. “We have been practicing for the last three weeks and are comfortable where we are. I feel like it is going to be a close one-goal game either way.”
Interview requests for the Hurricane head coach went unreturned.