Soccer teams both edged 3-2 at regionals
Boys match with Bluefield settled in fourth overtime
Class A/AA Region 3 Championship at Summersville
#14 Class A Warriors (11-6-2) 3
#11 Class AA Bluefield (15-5-2) 2
The Region 3 boys soccer championship match-up between Pocahontas County High School and Bluefield on the artificial turf of Nicholas County High School’s Memorial Stadium October 23 was a marathon match that ended up taking four overtime periods and three hours to crown a winner.
When the 80 minute regulation play ended in a 2-2 tie, there were then two scoreless, 10 minute, regular overtime periods. The third overtime and the first of two possible five minute suddendeath periods was also a scoreless tie. With 2:38 to go in the fourth overtime, Bluefield junior Jose Tarin, an exchange student from Spain, shot in a crowd and scored for the 3-2 win. Tarin’s shot deflected off of the hands of PCHS junior goalie Alex Kennison and into the goal to give the Beavers their first ever trip to states. The PCHS players crumbled to the ground in disbelief as their dream of a second ever trip to states abruptly ended. It was reported by Brian Woodson of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph that Tarin has played soccer all his life in Spain. Both goalies were praised by the Bluefield paper for not letting a goal get past them for one 61:04 period of the match, and Kennison had twice the number of saves.
Senior-dominated Bluefield arrived at the match with three busloads of students and players, so the audience was the biggest of the season for PCHS, who also had a big following of fans. It was Bluefield’s third victory of the season (4-1 and 3-2 in regular season) over PCHS and the hardest for the Beavers to earn.
Bluefield head coach Robb Williams was in Alabama on business, so assistant coach Tim Roberts had to sweat the 107 minutes and 22 seconds of determined play between two very evenly matched teams.
Bluefield senior Justin Phillips scored early in the match using his left foot on a pass from senior J. T. Roberts at the 37:07 mark to make it 1-0 Bluefield. Phillips had previously scored the penalty kick over rival Pikeview with three seconds to go in the Section 2 final for the 1-0 win that advanced the Beavers to regional play. PCHS then scored with 11:26 to go in the first half when sophomore Phillip Green blasted a corner kick pass to senior Tyler Davis, and Davis headed it directly into the goal for the 1-1 tie that held to half-time. That play by Davis and Green had to be the most beautiful play of the evening.
Bluefield again scored 1:10 into the second half when Kennison had Justin Freund’s corner kick bounce off his hands in a crowd, and Bluefield’s Roberts got a foot on it for the go-ahead goal 2-1. Five minutes later Davis dribbled and on a rebound scored again for the 2-2 tie. That tie held for over 32 minutes, about half-way into the fourth five-minute sudden death overtime period.
Bluefield improves to 15-5-2 and PCHS drops to 11-6-2, and the Beavers advance to Friday’s final four in Beckley to play new to Class AA this season Region 1 champion #6 ranked Fairmont Senior (14-5-4). Pikeview, with 12 seniors making up half of their 23 player roster, out shot PCHS 27-14, and thus Kennison had 25 saves versus 13 for Beaver goalie senior Brandon Elderidge. Bluefield led in corner kicks 6-2. Bluefield’s rough play resulted in PCHS leading 7-3 in direct kicks and 8-1 in indirect kicks. The PCHS fans felt there should have been yellow cards handed out to a few opposing players in both matches instead of the kicks we were awarded. I felt the boys match was controlled more than the girls match. The three referees were from southern West Virginia. Warrior shots came from: Davis - 4, Green - 3, junior Garrett McCurdy - 2, sophomore Cary Roberstson - 2, sophomore Steven Simmons - 2 and junior Nils Schmidt - 1.
Head coach Steve White talked to me about how much the soccer knowledge of new assistant coach Cully McCurdy contributed to the program’s success this season.
“It is a shame anybody had to lose because their players made great plays all night,” Roberts said of the PCHS effort.
PCHS will graduate six, but with nine freshman on the roster, the potential is there for several seasons to come.
Both the Charleston Catholic and Bridgeport teams have also advanced to the final four and will play each other at states.
Class A/AA Region 3 Championship at Summersville
#14 Class A Lady Warriors (11-6-1) 2
#6 Class AA PikeView (16-4-2) 3
The PikeView girls of the area surrounding Princeton in Mercer County scored early in the much-delayed girls regional championship that did not start until three hours after the boys marathon began at 5:30, and after the temperatures dropped 20 degrees.
With 35:40 to go in the first half, PikeView senior all-stater Laura Hill dribbled and shot to the left of diving junior goalie Lorena Rose for the 1-0 lead. Hill is the daughter of the head and assistant coaches at PikeView and has set an unofficial state record for goals scored with 57, passing the 53 scored by junior Hope Nester last season. Nester was lost early in the season with a knee injury, and Hill filled the void for PikeView. At the 16:22 mark, PikeView freshman Madison May scored on a pass play for the 2-0 lead. That lead held until senior all-stater Sam Walton, on a pass from senior Clair Mosesso, with only 1:39 to go in the first half, kicked the ball to the left of the PikeView goalie to cut the Panthers lead to 1-2.
Walton would score again early in the second half at 34:41, driving into the goal, for the 2-2 tie. Hill would score her second goal with 20:34 to go in the match from 15 yards out and to the left of PCHS goalie Rose. The rest of the match was a defensive struggle, and PikeView managed to swarm Walton every time she got near the ball, and the Lady Panthers also delayed the game at times resulting in one delay of game call.
PikeView led on shots 9-6, but PCHS led on saves 3-2, corner kicks 4-2 and direct kicks 4-3. Mosesso’s execution on her corner kicks was excellent. PCHS players with shots were: Walton - 3, junior Makeia Jonese - 2 and sophomore Tristin Day - 1.
Sophomore Heather Pritt really stood out in this game among the PCHS defenders who, as a group, had another excellent team effort. When you consider that the Panthers have won five straight Section 2 titles, three regional crowns in the last four years and have made three state tournaments in the last four years, PCHS played them very evenly.
PCHS will graduate five talented seniors while PikeView only graduates two and probably returns Nester.
PikeView improves to 16-4-2, and PCHS drops to 11-6-1. PikeView also advances to next week’s state tournament on Friday and faces Region 1 champion #7 ranked Fairmont Senior (14-8-1).
PCHS proved that they could play with the best Class AA schools in our region, and with only one other Class A public school, the Williamstown boys, making it to regionals this year, PCHS can hold its head high.
Brian Woodson of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph quoted Coach Sam Hill as saying, “It is a shame anybody had to lose because their great players made great plays all night. They are a well-coached team with a lot of quality athletes and good players and you anticipated a good match.”
PCHS head coach Kathy White was quoted, as well: “These girls have been playing each other all through high school, and we knew it was going to come down to the very end. We are proud of all of our girls; we played some competitive soccer and we wish PikeView a lot of luck next week. Sam has really stepped up this year. She has had some injuries...”
Assistant coach Steve White mentioned that this year’s freshmen class has much potential and had to step up and take bigger roles than are usually given to freshmen.
The players and coaches, Steve White, Kathy White and Cully McCurdy, are to be commended for getting these athletes to regionals, and matching the second highest finish in PCHS school history.
Only the 2008 teams got further when both teams made it to the Final Four in Beckley, and the boys team made it to the state championship game.