Sissonville blanks Catholic
RIPLEY, W.Va. - Sissonville removed its hex in the Class AA-A Region 4 girls soccer final, on Halloween no less.
Sophomores Karli Pinkerton and Madison Jones each scored a goal in the opening half and sophomore keeper Brooke Reed made sure that was all the Indians needed in handing Charleston Catholic its first shutout loss of the season, a 2-0 decision Thursday evening. A crowd of about 300 attended the matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the state coaches association final rankings on the turf at Ripley High School.
The triumph sends top-ranked Sissonville (20-0-3), which had lost to Catholic in its previous four meetings in the regionals, to the semifinals of the state tournament Nov. 8 at the YMCA Youth Soccer Complex in Beckley. The Indians will take on No. 3 Fairmont Senior (19-2-1), a 2-1 winner over Madonna, at 9:30 a.m. next Friday at Carter Field.
The Indians defeated the Polar Bears, last year's state runner-up, 4-1 Aug. 29 at Trace Fork. (See Page 2B for regional results and pairings.)
Catholic defeated Sissonville 2-1 on penalty kicks in the Region 4 final last year. In 2010, the Irish beat the Indians 4-1, Catholic was victorious 1-0 in three overtimes in 2009 and the Irish won 1-0 in OT in 2008.
"It's an amazing feeling,'' said Sissonville junior Taylor Rhodes. "In the past we always haven't gotten a goal and it comes down to penalty kicks. It felt really good to get an early [goal]. It's a relief after you get the first one in. We've worked really hard and I think we've earned it. I'm just really proud of our girls.''
"That really hurt,'' said Jones of last year's loss. "It feels good to finally beat them. We've been watching tape, talking about it and practicing really hard. I think we were really prepared for this game.''
No. 2 Catholic (19-2-2), which hadn't yielded a goal in two sectional games, had six shots on goal and took seven corner kicks, but couldn't put anything together. That was mainly because of Reed's six saves, including several in one-on-one situations.
"We had to do everything right to make it happen,'' said Sissonville coach Ali Sadeghian, whose squad is the only undefeated team in the Class AA-A girls division. "I'm so proud of the girls. They knew exactly what was on the line and they worked at it. We played sound, fundamental soccer.''
Pinkerton gave Sissonville the early 1-0 lead off an assist from Jones 3:30 into the opening half. Jones dribbled wide to the right post then sent a pass across the face of the goal to Pinkerton, who was waiting at the left post to put it away.
Jones followed with an unassisted tally in the 19th minute for a 2-0 advantage. Jones tracked down a loose ball on the right sideline then cranked a shot from about 20 yards out that hooked inside the left post. Jones had another shot that went off the crossbar in the 33rd minute.
"It was a big deal,'' said Jones of the early goals. "It set the tempo. It really took the pressure off us.''
Catholic had several opportunities early in the first half but couldn't connect. Irish sophomore Caroline Dundervill, who leads the Kanawha Valley with 41 goals, had a one-on-one with Reed but sent the shot over the goal in the fifth minute.
Then Catholic sophomore Sophie Bumgarner had a direct kick from the left top of the penalty box in the 14th minute but sent it wide right. Dundervill had another breakaway chance in the 19th minute but Reed jumped up to block the shot with her body.
The Irish pressed the entire second half but still couldn't break through. Catholic sophomore Peyton Keener's direct kick from the left side of the box found sophomore Payton Mullen's head and was just wide of the goal early in the second half.
Keener took a direct kick just to the right of the penalty box, which produced nothing in the 44th minute. Keener cracked a shot off Reed and the crossbar in the 49th minute and Bumgarner took a direct kick from about 30 yards out that went wide right in the 73rd minute.
"Catholic just came out, trying to get those two goals, and it showed,'' Jones said.
Catholic coach Amy Mullen was unavailable after the game.
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at email@example.com or 304-348-4811.