RIPLEY -- Charleston Catholic and Sissonville must make the 36-mile trek up Interstate 77 North to decide the only regional involving Kanawha Valley girls teams.
It will certainly be worth the drive for the No. 1 Indians (20-2) and the No. 4 Fighting Irish (14-5-2), who will tangle at approximately 7:30 tonight in the Class AA-A Region 4 final at Ripley High School with the winner advancing to the state tournament.
States will take place Nov. 2-3 at the YMCA Soccer Complex in Beckley. (See Page 2B for regional pairings).
The trip will also be redemptive for both squads.
The Indians lost 2-1 to Grafton in last year's state championship game, the first time they had gotten that far since winning it all in 2002.
Sissonville has bounced back stronger than ever this year, winning 15 straight and hasn't lost since a 3-0 setback at Bridgeport on Sept. 1. During the winning streak, the Indians had 11 straight shutouts and 13 total while allowing just two goals.
"After a disappointing loss last year, we're very much eager to get back to states,'' said Sissonville coach Ali Sadeghian. "The girls have been working very hard and dedicated to the practices. They're determined.''
Catholic saw its streak of three straight state titles come to an end when it failed to make it out of its section last season. The Irish have rebounded with the addition of five freshmen to the starting lineup.
"Jenny Borman, Sarah Joseck and Anna Whelan they have really shown great leadership and helped these freshmen know what it's like to be a competitive team,'' said Catholic first-year coach Amy Mullen.
Indians senior Lydia Murray, who leads the Kanawha Valley with 35 goals, set the area's career goal scoring record and now has 132.
In addition, Sissonville freshmen Madison Jones and Karli Pinkerton have added 28 and 18 goals, respectively, while freshman keeper Brooke Reed and senior defender Shelby Swiney have spearheaded a defense that has surrendered just 11 goals in 22 games.