South escapes with 4-3 win vs. PHS

Photo by Tyler Bennett Parkersburg South’s Faith Childers (4) battles Parkersburg’s Alex Queen (19) for possession of the ball during a high school girls soccer match Saturday at Stadium Field. South won, 4-3.

PARKERSBURG — Parkersburg South sophomore Samara Nunn stepped up for the Patriots every time she was called upon during South’s close 4-3 victory versus crosstown rivals Parkersburg Big Reds, ending a two-game losing skid at Stadium Field Saturday afternoon.

Equalizing both times in the 9th and 60th minute when the Big Reds took the lead, Nunn’s third and final goal at the 64-minute mark finally completed the South (4-2-0) comeback, giving the Patriots a 3-2 lead. Mainly roaming around the mid-field, Nunn was a constant threat in the middle, battling for possession and sending passes down the field.

“I thought we did a really good job when we were down. It was really scary. But we talked about it at halftime. We just picked it up and we were ready,” Nunn said. “We just built up the confidence and I had to take leadership. I was ready. I was so ready for this game.”

Big Red senior Maddi Leggett scored the game’s first goal off an assist from freshman Jenna Carpenter in the game’s opening minutes, but the Big Reds’ (2-4-1) lead was short lived. In the ninth minute, a Patriots throw-in intended for Karleigh Dowler in the box bounced around before Nunn capitalized on the loose ball, booting it to the back of the net and making the score 1-all.

In the 15th minute, Nunn had a nice through ball get past the Big Red defenders near the left side of the box to find a running Erin Riesbeck, but Riesbeck’s shot was just left of the mark.

Just three minutes later, the Patriots had another scare from a throw-in, but goalkeeper Kendall Mader came out of goal and made short work of the threat and cleared it away. South then launched a counter on the right side of the field, crossing the ball from the center-line to the left side of the penalty box. Dowler chased down the through for a one-on-one opportunity versus Big Red keeper Isabel Lynch. Dowler shot with her right foot going right to the post, but Lynch pulled the ball in with a diving stop.

The Big Reds had one more chance to steal a goal before going into intermission with 37 minutes already played. Madison Spears timed her turn to get an open look, getting free of South defender Sam Martin, but Spears’ shot went wide right.

PHS finally got much-needed breathing room when Spears juked her defender and fired a shot past Mader to the right post, giving the Big Reds a 2-1 lead at the 44-minute mark.

In a swing of momentum, having already received a play-on from the referees that ended with a South shot that went out of play, the referees then called for a South free-kick, citing to the original play-on foul. Big Reds coach Brad Morris and his assistants pleaded their case to the referees, but the call stood.

“Either you play advantage or you don’t. I feel like they played the advantage. They took it, they took the shot, they missed it, then they got the second opportunity. I think that was a big momentum shift,” Morris said. “Our girls are kind of questioning why they have to defend a free-kick. Then they gave the supporting fans a little something more to cheer for, which they got behind their team.”

Not normally the free-kick taker, Nunn was the one that took the kick for the Patriots, drilling home the goal and tying the game for the second time at the 60th minute mark.

“I never take free kicks, but I was so into the game. I stepped up and I knew I was gonna make this,” Nunn said.

South continued to go on the attack, regaining possession and moving the ball around on the left side of the field before Ellie Foggin found Nunn left of the box. Nunn picked up her third goal and South’s first lead on the afternoon, sending a rocket past the Big Red keeper to the upper right corner in the 64th minute.

South scored its third goal in the second half four minutes later on a corner kick, as Cam Limer’s cross from the right flag post found Dowler in the box. Dowler used her right foot on the first touch, sending the ball into the back of the net and making it a 4-2 South lead.

“Typical PHS-South game. A lot of intensity so it’s always going to be always a heated affair. They’re getting better. They’ve got some good freshmen and we had that big graduating class last year and we’re a young team this year,” South head coach Ron Bucholtz said. “We still got some things to work and improve on. But I like the composure we showed getting down early. We got some things to work on defensively. It’s a young group in the defense, so we gotta get them on the right page, but it’s starting to come together. Hopefully, we can get it together pretty quickly. If we get it together by October, we’re in great shape.

Parkersburg showed signs of a comeback in the 70th minute. Coming down the flanks on the right side of the field, Carpenter whipped a cross intended for Spears in the middle of the box. However, the cross went over Spears’ head and landed in front of Bethany Meeks, who sent a shot to the right of the post to cut South’s lead to one.

“Our girls never give up. I’m proud of them. They’re doing the right things, we’re just not connected on the offensive side to get those consistent shots on goal and ultimately getting the goals,” Morris said.

Parkersburg’s next game is at Warren on Monday at 7:30 p.m. South also hits the road, going to the Wheeling Island to face Wheeling Park Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Contact Tyler Bennett at tbennett@newsandsentinel.com