PARKERSBURG - Against the top-ranked boys soccer team in the state, Parkersburg cleared the first hurdle and scored a goal against a George Washington outfit which had allowed just one all season.
The second hurdle was a tad more difficult to overcome as the Big Reds lost to the unbeaten Patriots 2-1 Tuesday night at Stadium Field.
Drew Davis accounted for both George Washington goals in the second half and Patriot keeper Garrett Phillips survived an onslaught of scoring attempts after Big Red freshman Immanuel Opoku-Duah cut the deficit in half with 23 minutes remaining in regulation.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Parkersburg's Hunter Hill, center, heads the ball as teammate Evan Rhodes also makes an attempt for it while George Washington's Connor Boyd, back center, and Peter Nelson play from the back. Parkersburg's Matt Powney and George Washington's Bailey Johnson watch from the left.
"I am so proud of my kids - they did not quit," PHS coach Don Fosselman said after his squad suffered its first loss and slipped to 12-1-2. "They were down 2-0 and could have rolled over, but they just kept coming. All I know is they are a very good team and we scored on a very good keeper. "
Ranked No. 23 nationally, George Washington nearly fell behind 1-0 in the final minute of the first half. PHS forward Evan Rhodes sprinted down the left hash mark, entered the box with possession of the ball and sent a laser just wide right as Phillips had vacated the net area.
Whatever the Patriots discussed during their team meeting at halftime worked beautifully because only 22 seconds elapsed before Logan O'Hara stole the ball deep in Parkersburg territory, and centered a pass for Davis. His shot attempt reached the back of the net untouched.
Davis struck again at the 30:42 mark of the second half. This goal was assisted by Daniel Glines, who fed Davis. The shot attempt didn't have as much steam as the first goal, but had enough zip that the PHS keeper let it slip through his grasp.
Near the midway point of the second half, Davis nearly recorded a hat trick with a third goal but was denied by PHS keeper Reid Strobl. Moments later at the opposite end of the field, PHS senior Austin Yeater found Opoku-Duah open for the one-timer. With exactly 23 minutes showing on the clock, the GW advantage was sliced in half to 2-1.
"Yeater broke down the right side, he let his guy go by and he cut it back against the grain," Fosselman said. "Immanuel then one-touched the pass and got it into the netting."
At the 18:40 mark, GW nearly committed the same mistake made by PHS earlier in the half as Phillips bobbled a shot on goal. Three minutes later, a shot by Rhodes ricocheted off the right post.
"We had seen that Parkersburg could score a lot of goals, and their history seemed to be a lot of goals in the second half," Tom Hopper said. "So 2-0 was not my most favorite lead. After Parkersburg scored that first goal, they didn't back off."
PHS, which plays host to Parkersburg South Thursday night, could meet George Washington again in a Class AAA championship match.
"We got through this one," Hopper said. "We knew it would be a real difficult match. I thought Parkersburg took us out of our game, but fortunately we got some goals and made it stand up."