Irish boys gun for state soccer berth
CHARLESTON -- Charleston Catholic coach Sam Fox is still expecting the best from his team, which could be bad news for everyone else in Class AA-A.
The Fighting Irish (20-0-2), who finished No. 1 in the final state coaches association rankings, meet No. 2 Williamstown (15-1-3) at approximately 5:30 p.m. today at Ripley High School in the Region 4 boys high school soccer final.
The regional winners advance to the state tournament, set for Nov. 2-3 at the YMCA Soccer Complex in Beckley. (See Page 2B for regional pairings.)
Catholic, the three-time defending state champion, has extended its streak of 52 matches in which it hasn't lost a game in spite of patchwork lineup.
"We've been pretty fortunate,'' said Fox. "We've only had 11 starters on the field about seven or eight games. When you're winning, nobody really takes note of those problems.
"It's been a difficult season. I've had to move people out of their normal positions. The boys have adapted and played where I've asked them to play. That's a sign of good maturity on the team.''
It also helps when you have one of the top players in the state as Catholic does in senior Sam Revercomb, who has scored 33 goals, second-most in the Kanawha Valley.
Opponents, though, can't focus solely on Revercomb with senior William Scriptunas (20 goals), freshman Joey Trupo (14) and senior Adam Fox (eight) capable scorers. Catholic senior keeper Mitchel Thorsteinson and senior defender Domenic Cippollone have keyed a defense that has yielded just 19 goals in 22 games and pitched 10 shutouts, including the last three games.
"Most games we've played, we've been getting the best shot of some of the best teams in the state,'' said Sam Fox, whose team has weathered a demanding schedule featuring 14 Class AAA teams. "I still don't believe we've played up to our ability. Each game it seems we put together one good half of soccer.''
Williamstown captured only its second sectional championship and first since 2008 last week to advance. The Yellowjackets are unbeaten in their last 13 matches, including nine wins and four ties, and have won their last three by shutout.
"They've had a great season,'' said Sam Fox of the Wood County school. "They've only lost one game and to do that is special. To win their section they had to beat some good teams.
"I think we just need to play our game. If we can play up to our abilities, we should do OK. We have to play aggressive and possess the ball. If we can do those things, we'll get a good result.''
In other regional games today, No. 6 Fairmont Senior takes on No. 4 Weir in Region 1, No. 15 Philip Barbour plays No. 7 Bridgeport in Region 2 and No. 11 Bluefield faces No. 12 Pocahontas County in Region 3.
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4811.