Catholic streaks past Sissonville
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When Charleston Catholic fell behind early in the second half Thursday night, coach Domenic Cipollone saw that old fire in the Fighting Irish's eyes.
Joey Trupo scored the last two goals as No. 5 Catholic handed top-ranked Sissonville its first loss of the season, a 2-1 decision. A vocal crowd of about 300 attended the Class AA-A matchup at Andrew Jordon Field at Trace Fork.
The four-time defending state champion Irish (5-0-2) also extended their unbeaten streak to 62 matches. Catholic's last loss was a 7-4 setback at Parkersburg on Oct. 12, 2010.
The Irish won the last five games of the 2010 season, including their second of four straight Class AA-A state titles, and haven't lost since. Catholic has had four ties and finished with identical 23-0-2 records the past two seasons.
"When they needed to turn it up they did,'' said Cipollone, Catholic's first-year coach. "I think they got motivated when they were down.''
Hunter White gave Sissonville a 1-0 lead Thursday less than six minutes into the second half, converting a direct kick from about 20 yards out from the top left of the penalty-box area.
The Irish roared back behind Trupo, who knotted the game at 1-all with 27:52 to go. Anthony Cipollone put a pass right on the foot of Trupo, who was streaking toward the goal down the left side. Trupo then took a few dribbles before putting away the shot into the lower right corner.
Trupo put the Irish up for good at 2-1 with 15:03 remaining. Cipollone sent a pass from the right side across the face of the goal, where Sissonville keeper J.R. Stricklen made a play on the ball a bit too late and missed. Trupo was waiting at the left post and headed the ball into the net as he laid out nearly vertical to the turf.
The fact that Catholic was missing two starters because of suspensions made the win even sweeter for the Irish, who have found themselves trailing in several games this season as they adjust to replacing three of the team's top four goal scorers from a year ago.
"It boosts our confidence and our self-esteem,'' said Trupo. "After tying St. Joe's [in last weekend's Bishop's Cup] it was just a complete letdown.
"Against Oak Hill we had the same situation [a 4-4 tie] and we couldn't convert. To come back like this is just a great, great feeling. We'll be in a good mood now, which we haven't been the whole season. We love games like this. We lost two starters and we're just facing adversity. That's what we need.''
Patrick Cline made two second-half stops for Catholic while Sissonville's Stricklen finished with six saves.
Sissonville (6-1-1) is closing the gap on longtime nemesis Catholic, which has bounced the Indians from the sectionals twice since 2008.
"We got a little complacent after we got the lead and they took advantage of it,'' said Sissonville coach Eric Minsker, who also was missing a couple of key substitutes because of injuries. "They're a good team like always.
"We felt like we had a good opportunity. They earned it. They worked for it. The next one down the road is the most important. We'll just have to improve and work on the things we made mistakes on tonight and get better. We kind of know what to expect [now from Catholic].''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at email@example.com or 304-348-4811.