Patriots go for grand finale

South girls well prepared for regional final

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Parkersburg South’s Riley Pigott gets ready to throw in the ball during a high school girls soccer match earlier this season at Erickson All-Sports Facility.

PARKERSBURG — Forward Charley Taylor and the Parkersburg South girls’ soccer team hope the third time is the charm to advance to the state semifinals in their Class AAA Region IV final match at 5 p.m. today at Ripley High School.

Cabell Midland ended the Patriots’ season each of the past two years in this same contest.

All thumbs point up in the team’s preparation.

“Everyone is as healthy as they can be going into the contest,” said PSHS head coach Ron Bucholtz. Defenders Kathryn Bowers and Lauren Gerrard are the only players not available for action.

In order to become accustomed to turf again, Bucholtz requested and was granted three practices at PHS Stadium Field. His girls haven’t shown any adverse reaction to the playing surface.

The turf isn’t the only thing the Patriots are prepared for either. Taylor sounded upbeat when asked about her squad’s mental makeup.

“We aren’t really nervous,” said senior Taylor, who has been on the field to see the Patriots season end the past two years. ‘We aren’t cocky either. We are really confident with how we have been playing and if we play like we have been we shouldn’t be worried.”

A second win over another top team serving as an espresso shot of confidence for all players.

Bucholtz’ top-ranked Patriots (18-1-2) punched their ticket to today’s contest after freshman Samara Nunn’s deep laser from 20 yards out in the 12th minute blew past fifth-ranked Ripley’s goalie Taylor Kennedy in a 1-0 Section 1 win over the Vikings.

The Knights aren’t the opponent waiting for them this time. Andy Wilson’s reigning state champion club fell to Shellie Young’s Hurricane team, 3-1 in Section 2.

The Redskins using a possession game plan to triple up the time the Cabell possessed the ball.

Young’s team swarmed 2017 state player of the year Emilie Charles with three defenders whenever they got the chance too.

A strategy which will be ineffective against the Patriots. Scoring comes from everywhere as evidenced by Nunn’s boot in the previous game. Redskin defenders have to worry about the Patriots second line as well.

Tonight’s game will be a rematch of the Sept. 22 contest won 2-1 by Parkersburg South. A game the Patriots came out flat in but controlled after Hurricane scored a pretty shot nothing could be done about by goalie Kendall Mader.

“Like any other team they have a good coach,” said Bucholtz when asked what makes Hurricane a solid opponent. “I play with her in an adult league down in Charleston and she understands the game and is able to convey that to her players.

“They have a good central midfield that can control the game pretty well unless we counter that and we did in the first game,” added Bucholtz. “We controlled and player with a better tempo.

“They have some good athletes and can be aggressive at times. We need to make sure we move the ball around sharply and quickly.”

“We have to go all in with the same mindset,” said Taylor on how the Patriots can advance to Beckley. “We can’t go in 50-50. Everyone has to be determined to win so we can play as a team.”