On to the regional final: South girls down PHS, 1-0, in sectional championship
PARKERSBURG — Mia Miller’s assist to Samara Nunn with 24 seconds left in the 60th minute was the only goal of the match here Saturday at Erickson All-Sports Facility as host Parkersburg South eliminated rival Parkersburg in the Class AAA, Region IV, Section 2 final.
The Patriots of head coach Ron Bucholtz received another shutout from keeper Kendal Mader as the 17-0 Patriots continued their season-long streak of not allowing a goal.
“I think the win was really awesome,” admitted Nunn, who will return to action with her teammates Tuesday night at Ripley to face Cabell Midland in the regional. “It was an aggressive game. Both teams played good. I mean it got dirty at the end, but what can I say we were both fighting for something.
“(On the goal) I looked right at the net and then I looked right at her (Miller’s free kick) and I knew it wasn’t going in the air. It skimmed and I was making a run in front of the goalie and I made a touch off of it. I got it off my foot. We were kind of off with our shots today, but I thought we played awesome.”
PHS keeper Isabel Lynch made six first-half saves and 10 overall. The Big Reds of head man Brad Morris, who finished at 8-7-1, had both of their shots on goal in the second half.
The best chance for the Big Reds, who had plenty of momentum after upsetting Hurricane on Tuesday in a sectional semifinal, came in the 47th minute.
That’s when Kendal Domenick got a through to Madison Spears, who tried to chip it in past the head of Mader.
“I knew she was coming down,” Mader noted. “Goalie is just kind of an instinct kind of thing. I like volleyball set it over the goal. It’s just a reaction save and I’m very thankful I was able to do it.”
What Mader wants now more than anything is a shot at reaching the state tournament in Beckley.
“For the other seniors with Sam (Martin) and Ellie (Foggin), we’ve always lost at the regional level,” Mader said of the past three seasons. “This year it’s going to be a different story for us.”
The sectional final was supposed to be played Thursday, but was pushed back two days.
“You try not to make excuses, but it definitely did kind of stack the chips against us a little bit,” Morris stated. “It gave them a couple of extra days to have a couple players who could play and then it also in the meantime, we lost a couple on our side because of illness.
“It put them up. It put us down, but you don’t want to make excuses. We left it all on the field. The girls really wanted it today. We had a little high coming off the Hurricane game. It could’ve been really ugly without her (Lynch) making a lot of key saves.”
Lynch saved four shots by Ava Barton in the first half along with one apiece by Mackenzie Mott and Nunn. The Big Red keeper also made two saves on Miller free kicks after intermission.
PHS couldn’t get anything from its two corner kicks by Jenna Carpenter. Cameron Limer took all four corners for the hosts.
“To survive a section like this it takes a quality team who believes in themselves,” said Bucholtz, who watched Nunn drill the crossbar in the 66th minute. “Today we played very, very well. I’m proud of the way the girls played. I wish we would’ve found a few more of those finishing chances.
“When you read the score line you think it must’ve been a barnburner, but when you are at the game you realize we controlled the tempo and had significant more chances. We’re playing outstanding shutdown defense and limiting chances. When Kendal has to come up with the goods she’s been Johnny-on-the-spot every single game. I like our chances going forward.”
Contact Jay Bennett at email@example.com