Sissonville girls blank Grafton 4-0
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Sissonville coach Ali Sadeghian found out just how resilient his team has become Saturday morning.
The No. 2 Indians scored two goals in a two-and-a-half-minute span of the opening half in rolling to a 4-0 victory over No. 5 Grafton.
A crowd of about 75 attended the showdown of Class AA-A state-ranked high school girls soccer teams at Andrew Jordon Field at Trace Fork. It was a rematch of the 2011 state championship game in which Grafton took a 2-1 victory over Sissonville.
Sissonville (16-0-1) has been playing recently without starting defender Taylor Legg, who is nursing an injury, and another starter on defense, Ellie McClung, missed Saturday's matchup because of a college entrance exam. In addition, starting midfielder Taylor Rhodes is nursing a groin injury and midfielder Myranda Miller was lost for the season during the second game of the year.
"I'm very proud of the girls,'' said Sadeghian, whose team played its fourth game in six days. "They showed up just the way they're supposed to play even though were shorthanded.
"We had to make some adjustments. Things are very rough right now for us. We're playing out of position. Unfortunately, this late [in the season] you're not supposed to do that, but with the injuries we have no choice. I'm very pleased with the girls stepping forward and playing [different] positions.''
Sissonville's forward duo of Madison Jones and Karli Pinkerton were too much for the Bearcats (11-5-6) to handle. Jones netted three goals and added an assist while Pinkerton scored once and had two assists.
Jones carried a pass from Pinkerton into the penalty box and past Grafton keeper Shawna Graham, who came out of the net, for a quick 1-0 lead in the seventh minute.
Jones and Pinkerton hooked up again when Jones put a perfect pass on Pinkerton's foot as Pinkerton was streaking toward the left post for a 2-0 advantage in the ninth minute. Jones scored her second goal off a Rhodes pass for a 3-0 edge at halftime. Jones tallied her last goal on a Pinkerton pass about halfway through the second half to set the final score.
"That was one of the best games I think we played this season,'' said Jones. "The other three games this week were definitely not our best. I think [the win over Grafton] got our confidence up and made us realize how much potential we have.''
"We're just going to work to get better,'' added Pinkerton. "We were a little nervous at first, but we knew some people had to step up for us to be able to win. Morgan Harrison [a midfielder] played defense and she's never played that before.''
Jones now has a Kanawha Valley-leading 34 goals while Pinkerton has chipped in 30, which is third-best in Kanawha and Putnam counties.
"We've played with each other since we were real little,'' said Pinkerton of the scoring combination.
"I think [scoring the goals] has a lot to do with Mary [Schmeck] and Taylor, too,'' Jones said. "They set us both up a lot.''
Grafton has been finding its way with a young lineup, which features 13 freshmen and seven sophomores.
"We struggled coming out,'' said Bearcats coach Lorraine Isner. "We were flat and we just weren't aggressive to the ball and gave [Sissonville] opportunities. They're very patient. They look to find the right combination. We have some growing to do.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4811.