South girls remain undefeated
No. 2 Patriots nip No. 5 Ripley, 2-1
PARKERSBURG — In a battle of top-five ranked Class AAA programs here Thursday evening at the Erickson All-Sports Facility, No. 2 Parkersburg South got the game-winner late in the 79th minute from Riley Pigott to secure a 2-1 triumph versus No. 5 Ripley.
“I think defensively we did pretty well,” admitted Viking head coach Steve Gandee, whose squad tied the match at one in the 47th minute on an unassisted rocket from Aubree Flint. “We gave up two goals. The midfield did well.
“We started out kind of slow in the midfield and then we did a better job keeping possession. We had some opportunities, but we couldn’t convert them. It was a heart-breaker giving up that last goal. We actually beat the player to the ball.”
Prior to Pigott’s tally, the Patriots had back-to-back corner kicks but couldn’t get a shot on goal as the ball was cleared out first by Cassidy Miller and then by Mackenzie Gillispie.
However, with the clock inching toward the final minute of the affair, Charley Taylor sent a pass across the pitch to Pigott, who launched a shot, but it was deflected by a Viking defender. Luckily for Pigott, the ball basically came right back to her and she finished by beating keeper Taylor Kennedy, who had seven saves, with 65 seconds remaining.
“I’m so proud of them for how they just kept going and kept attacking,” said Patriot keeper Kendall Mader. “An amazing shot by Riley down there, but we played very good defense tonight and that’s what really let us get the win.”
Olivia Gandee, who had a 35-yard shot drill the top of the crossbar in the 63rd minute, had a last-second 40-plus yard attempt from the middle of the field, but it was wide and Mader hauled it in and then celebrated with her teammates.
“We played tough,” Mader added. “I mean we kept going through it and I have an absolutely amazing defensive line and I can’t thank them enough for all that they do for me. Unfortunately, we did let a goal in tonight.”
After a scoreless first half, PSHS head coach Ron Bucholtz’ squad struck first in the 44th minute when freshman speedster Samara Nunn took a feed from Audrie Leasure.
With Kennedy racing out to try and scoop it up, Nunn was just a tad quicker and managed to get a foot on the ball and boot it into the goal.
“They are a quality team obviously,” said Bucholtz, whose program improved to 9-0-2 and plays host at 6 p.m. Tuesday to Brooke. “First half, we were on the front foot and had some good chances down there. They got a quality goal keeper. We controlled the tempo in the first half and then got the goal.
“Samara with her speed just got to the ball and did the right thing. If all you can do is get a touch on it, that’s all it needs sometimes. They found a way to score and tie it and I think that got us back on our heels a little bit. It was a good play on their part, swarming around the ball and Kendall had no chance at that upper 90. That’s one of those shots the keeper has to watch and say just go wide.”
In the 76th minute, Flint was racing toward the box and appeared to have a chance at putting the Vikings ahead, but South defender Kathryn Bowers was able to thwart the attempt. Needless to say, Mader was pleased with that.
“I think it was just a marking up malfunction kind of,” Mader said of the goal she allowed. “I know Abby Homan slid and got the ball and then Kat took it up and kicked it out and then the girl who made the goal was just lucky and was right there and shot it nice and I couldn’t get to it.”
Ripley, which dropped to 9-1 and returns to action at 11 a.m. Saturday at Cabell Midland, got saves by Kennedy in the 64th and 67th minutes on shots by Leasure.
“I’m proud of the girls,” Bucholtz added. “But, oh my, did Riley bury that shot. She hammered that thing, but you need a quality shot to beat a good keeper like that.”
Parkersburg South girls 2, Ripley 1
#5 Ripley (9-1) 0 1 — 1
#2 South (9-0-2) 0 2 — 2
PS: Samara Nunn (assist Audrie Leasure) 44th minute
R: Aubree Flint (unassisted) 47th minute
PS: Riley Pigott (unassisted) 79th minute
Shots on goal: R 3, PS 10; Corner kicks: R 2, PS 4; Keeper saves: R 8 (Taylor Kennedy 7, Team 1), PS 2 (Kendall Mader)
Next matches: Ripley at Cabell Midland 11 a.m. Saturday; Brooke at Parkersburg South 6 p.m. Tuesday.