Celebration time for Sissonville
BECKLEY, W.Va. - Sissonville coach Ali Sadeghian talked all week leading up to the Class AA-A girls soccer state tournament about how his team could use a little luck.
The horseshoe was on the foot of sophomore Madison Jones, whose penalty kick proved the difference as Sissonville got its break early Saturday morning and rode it all the way to the championship in a 1-0 win over defending state champion Bridgeport at the YMCA Youth Soccer Complex.
Sissonville (22-0-3), which finished No. 1 in the final state coaches association rankings, defeated No. 2 Charleston Catholic in the regional final, No. 3 Fairmont Senior in Friday's state semifinals and No. 4 Bridgeport (16-4-3) in the title game. The Indians captured their second title to go with one in 2002 after finishing runner-up in 2011.
"I have to admit today's game was one of those that we needed luck and it came on our side,'' said Sadeghian, whose team played Bridgeport to a 2-2 tie earlier in the season. "The girls did a great job as usual. They played very hard. We get the best out of us when the game's on the line.''
Sissonville sophomore Karli Pinkerton was tackled in the penalty box in the 27th minute by Bridgeport junior defender Jenna Alonge to set up Jones' PK. Jones hit her spot, and even though Bridgeport freshman keeper Morgan Willis got a piece of the ball, it carried into the back of the net.
"I was pretty confident,'' said Jones, who finished the year with the second-most goals in the Kanawha Valley-best at 40 goals. "I'm pretty consistent at getting [the ball] at the spot. Just hope for the best. I got lucky.''
"I have no problem with that at all,'' said Bridgeport coach John Reese of the penalty. "I would have rather [Alonge] stayed on her feet, but she thought [Jones] was getting ready to shoot and she just missed the ball. She's one of our best slide tacklers on the team. She just didn't get the ball. That was a good call. We should be able to come back from that.''
Jones' PK was the only Sissonville did not have scoring chance the rest of the way.
"I wasn't really concerned if that was the only opportunity,'' said Jones. "We only need one. We got the goal.''
Sissonville sophomore keeper Brooke Reed made a fantastic save a few minutes after Jones' goal, poking the ball over the crossbar. Reed, who finished with two saves, also stopped a one-on-one breakaway earlier in the opening half.
"I give credit to our defenders,'' Sadeghian said. "They did a very good job. Against the wind in the second half most of the time, they really did a very good job clearing the ball. We didn't play our normal style, but we did whatever it took to win the game.''
Bridgeport did a great job containing Jones and Sissonville sophomore Karli Pinkerton, who wound up with 38 goals on the year.
"I thought we controlled the game, we just didn't take [advantage of] our chances,'' said Reese, whose squad edged Fairmont Senior 3-2 last season for its first title. "We had chances early to go ahead, one or two, and we didn't do it. We just couldn't connect. I thought our defense played fantastic. Everything [Sissonville] wanted to do we shut them down.''
Sissonville finally overcame nemesis Charleston Catholic in advancing to states after losing four of the last five years to the Fighting Irish in the regional finals.
"I'm very proud to be part of this community,'' said Sadeghian. "This [championship] means a lot. We're very blessed. [Our fans] cheer through tears and every sadness.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson email@example.com or 304-348-4811.
AA-A boys: PikeView blanks East Fairmont 1-0
Senior Isaac VanBlaricom scored a goal off an assist from senior Alex Testerman in the 64th minute as PikeView blanked East Fairmont 1-0 in the Class AA-A boys championship game.
The No. 4 Panthers (20-4-1) appeared in their first title tilt and took their inaugural championship after advancing to states for the second time in three years. PikeView won both of its state tourney games without allowing a goal, defeating No. 11 Robert C. Byrd 2-0 in Friday's semifinals.
The No. 3 East Fairmont (16-5-3) was coming off a 1-0 upset of four-time defending champ Charleston Catholic in the semis.
Testerman sent a cross from the corner and VanBlaricom finished it off with a header in the left-top corner.
Panthers junior goalie Austin Cordell stopped four shots for the shutout. East Fairmont keeper Brett Metheny had six saves.