CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It's been a trying season for Charleston Catholic.
The Fighting Irish, who have qualified for eight straight state tournaments, haven't been ranked most of the season and even if they win out, they won't finish with a winning record.
In spite of all that, though, everything Catholic (9-15) set as a goal when the season started is still on the table as it travels to Williamstown (13-9) at 7 tonight in the Class A Region 4 co-final with a state berth on the line.
In the other Region 4 co-final, No. 1 and four-time defending state champion St. Joseph (21-1) hosts No. 6 Parkersburg Catholic (15-7). The regional co-final winners advance to states, which will take place March 6-9 at the Charleston Civic Center.
The Region 1 co-finals tonight feature St. Marys (22-1), which finished second in the final Associated Press poll, hosting Magnolia (11-12) and Trinity (13-10) visiting No. 3 Wheeling Central (20-4).
In Region 2, No. 9 Tygarts Valley (16-7) visits No. 6 Pocahontas County (17-5) and No. 4 Tucker County (18-5) hosts Pendleton County (12-8). In Region 3, Man (14-10) plays at No. 8 Fayetteville (17-6) and Tug Valley (15-8) hosts Valley Fayette (12-7). (See Page 2B for pairings.)
Charleston Catholic lost two starters before the year began to knee injuries, another key contributor to another knee injury and one player decided to leave the team a few weeks ago.
Paul Sutherland, in his first year at Catholic, also had to sit out for two weeks to allow Catholic Principal Debra Sullivan to investigate possible Secondary School Activities Commission violations.
"Sometimes you get to thinking what else could happen?'' said Sutherland, who guided Winfield to a Class AA state championships in 2004 and 2006. "We had our best practice Saturday morning and it just pumped me up. Monday I have three girls and three crucial players that are sick.