South ends Big Reds’ season in sectional semifinal

Parkersburg South’s Jordan Huffman fires a pass to a teammate during the Patriots’ 3-0 Class AAA Region IV, Section 1 semifinal win over crosstown rival Parkersburg High Monday at the Erickson All-Sports Facility. Photo by Joe Albright.

PARKERSBURG — Neither PHS, nor South were prepared for the season to end in the Class AAA Region IV, Section 1 semifinal Monday evening at Erickson All-Sports Facility.

Unfortunately for the Big Reds, the Patriots scored a few timely goals in the second half to score a 3-0 victory and advanced to a 7 p.m. Wednesday date in the sectional final with Ripley.

“My defense was definitely great and I was very thankful for them tonight,” said South keeper Sophia Miller, who finished with five saves on the evening. “I had a few saves but was thankful my defense was there to stop anything.

“I was definitely nervous,” said Miller, of the defensive battle in the early minutes of the game. “I have never lost to PHS all four years so I really didn’t want them to score or win tonight.”

Teammate Audrie Leasure made sure her keeper was granted the wish in the 23rd minute. The senior launched a high shot from 25 yards out, which sailed over the outstretched hands of PHS keeper Sophie Thompson. It appeared Thompson had a beat on the ball, but she couldn’t quite handle the hang time on the shot as the ball bounced into the scoring box for a 1-0 Patriots lead.

It was a welcome sight for the Patriots as both squads had strong defensive showings in both halfs.

“We had several great opportunities early. We just missed a few and it could have easily been 4 or 5-0 nothing early,” said South head man Ron Bucholtz. “And Sophie Thompson is a good goal keeper. She had several beautiful saves on us today. She kept them closer and we missed a few too.

“Yeah I was very pleased how the girls pretty well controlled the tempo of the game,” continued Bucholtz. “We passed nicely and were more aggressive to the ball. We finally broke through with the goal and found the net a few more times in the second half. I was very pleased. PHS, give them some credit they came out and had some moments they played well. They are a young team and they are getting better. They are getting some good coaching. I give them credit for improving. They’ve gotten better as the season has progressed, which is nice to see.”

Jordan Huffman and Aiyana Lauderman each netted one second half goal. Lauderman lured Thompson away from the net and slipped one by her on the right side in a 2-on-1 situation in the 60th minute. Huffman followed when her ball sailed over a diving Thompson two minutes later in the half.

Offensively PHS continued to have trouble generating offense against the Patriots like the first two games this season. The Big Reds mustered just four shots on goal, with zero corner kicks.

“We had a couple slip ups that made it a little worse than it was at the end of the game,” said Eric McCoy, PHS head coach, when asked about his team’s performance. “I think it all evened out. We tried some new things this past week to try to get some things going on the offensive end because we had struggled with it at times. I felt it was out of our hands to a certain point to where it was ‘Well it clicks and we score or it doesn’t and we don’t.’ So we switched some things around to hopefully take a little more control of the situation. The other night we played University and we played really well (with 10 shots on goal) and ended up scoring the only goal … We looked good. Tonight we just looked a little more flat like we were scared a little bit, just sitting back afraid to make mistakes when we really needed to get after it to get the result we wanted. It is a lesson learned. We still have a real young team with seven of the girls have nevered played in a sectional game before so we have a lot to look forward to.”