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Finally!: South girls soccer off to the state tourney

Parkersburg South’s Samantha Martin, left, challenges Cabell Midland’s Olivia Charles for the ball during the Patriots’ 2-1 Class AAA, Region IV triumph Tuesday evening at Ripley High School. Photo by Jay W. Bennett

RIPLEY — Finally, the Parkersburg South soccer team had something to celebrate in Death Valley at Ripley’s Memorial Stadium.

After three year’s of finishing as the runner-up, the Patriots of head coach Ron Bucholtz got the job done Tuesday night in the Class AAA, Region IV championship match by doubling up Cabell Midland, 2-1.

The victory now sends the 18-0 Patriots, who conceded their first goal of the campaign, into next Friday’s state tournament at Beckley.

“Me, Kendal (Mader) and Ellie (Foggin) we always said we’re like we never make it out so it’s so different to actually have the trophy,” admitted PSHS defender Samantha Martin. “We even kissed it.”

Parkersburg South held a commanding 13-5 edge in shots on goal and a 5-0 advantage in corner kicks.

The Patriots took the lead 19 seconds into the 15th minute when Cameron Limer assisted on Karleigh Dowler’s blast, which beat Knight keeper Ellaina Hess. It marked Dowler’s 11th tally and Limer’s fifth assist.

Olivia Charles, who entered the match with 24 goals, flicked a ball toward the box that Emma Shields was able to run down and finally boot past Mader in the 22nd minute to even the score.

“We just had like a miscommunication,” Martin said of the first goal the team has allowed this year. “It was just a bad breakdown. It kind of psyched us out in the beginning, but we pulled together as a team I think and we got another goal.

“It’s just an incredible feeling to be honest to finally win this. I think there’s definitely some pressure because you don’t want to be the first one to let the goal in so you’re like the disappointment of the team.

“We even said at halftime it’s no one’s fault. It had to go through everyone to get through.”

Mackenzie Mott registered the first shot on goal after intermission following a deep throw-in by Erin Riesbeck in the 42nd minute, but Hess made one of her 10 saves. Ellie Foggin nearly had a tally soon after, but Knight defender Josie Plumbley was able to block it.

PSHS continued to mount pressure and had shots on goal from Nunn and Dowler. Following a Limer corner kick in the 63rd minute, it appeared Foggin might break the tie, but Hess made a diving save.

However, the Patriots finally got the one they needed in the 72nd minute when Ava Barton got the ball to Nunn, who finished with the game-winner. It was Nunn’s 24th goal of the year and Barton’s 12th assist.

Aside from Shields’ tally, Charles had the other four shots on goal for the Knights of head coach Andy Wilson, who ended their season at 10-4-1.

“We’ll see how the girls can do down in Beckley,” Bucholtz said. “I’m just happy that we finally were able to break through on this thing. You got to give the girls credit. We just kept fighting and kept firing away and stymied their best player offensively and shut them down pretty well.

“We had one little mishap in the first half, but it was bound to happen at some point this season. It’d been a miracle to get through the whole 20 games and not concede, but considering where we are compared to the last few years, finally getting through is an amazing thing for us.”

Exactly who and when the Patriots will play in the state tournament is yet to be determined.

“There was a vote today for seeding,” added the Patriot boss. “Our reality, I suspect we might get the number one seed. We probably should, but Bridgeport is undefeated and Wheeling Park is a good team although we did beat them.

“Now, it’s a wait and see game how we get seeded. I suspect we should be a one or two seed for sure. I’m hoping we get the number one seed because then we get the early game on Friday and get a little more rest.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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