WHEELERSBURG — When a program is formed from a good foundation, it is said that the program in question will usually be a tough one to handle down the road.
After forming in 2014 off of the backs of Todd Jarvis and Kevin Powell, the Wheelersburg girls soccer program has proceeded to take off — to the point where it has achieved great success almost overnight as proven by the program’s Division III, Waverly II District Championship in 2016.
However, with 14 seniors on the roster in 2017, this year’s version of the Wheelersburg girls soccer program could very well be the best in its four seasons of existence.
The Lady Pirates certainly wasted no time proving to all in attendance at Ed Miller Stadium that there was little rust in the armor that the girls soccer program currently has at its disposal as Wheelersburg scored four goals over the first 13 minutes of play and never looked back en route to an impressive 8-0 victory over the Chesapeake Lady Panthers in a nonconference matchup Tuesday evening that was shorted to 40 minutes due to inclement weather.
For Jarvis, the victory spoke volumes to how concentrated his unit was as far as the overall contest was concerned.
“That was part of our concern,” Jarvis said. “You don’t ever know what to expect, which is why you play every game. We were looking forward to the kick, we hoped the girls would be ready for the kick, and they were. It’s commendable that they came out with the desire to play hard from start to finish. That’s the strong suit of this team. There’s a lot of girls that can do a lot of good things, and it’s good to see them put it all together because you never know in an environment where it’s raining. It can cause one’s mind to drift.”
But from start to finish, the minds of each of the players on the Wheelersburg squad were solely focused on the outcome of the affair at hand.
That was proven within the first 10 minutes of the game, where the Lady Pirates, behind the efforts of Lyndlee Willis, Libby Miller, and Madison Humble, continued to relentlessly attack all corners of the field on the offensive end as Wheelersburg dominated the time of possession throughout the affair.
In the second minute of play, Miller wasted no time getting the attack going in a positive direction. Her second-minute goal, which came on the left side of the box, gently nestled into the back of the net as Wheelersburg took a 1-0 advantage.
“Libby is a captain, and we have nothing but high expectations for her,” Jarvis said. “She always lives up to them.”
However, it would prove to be far from the last goal for Wheelersburg.
Just two minutes later, the Lady Pirates struck again as Humble — who her used dazzling footwork to break down the Chesapeake defense time after time — launched a shot that was saved. However, Willis, who kept charging the entire way, was right on top of it as the senior followed up the saved shot with a rocket of a ball that found back netting.
Willis and Miller, however, were far from finished.
In the seventh minute, Willis found room on the far side of the field, and, from 25 yards away, pulled the trigger on a shot that nestled gently into the left corner of the net.
Six minutes later, Miller added another impressive goal as the senior sprinted from midfield to the middle of the box to put home a goal on the far side of the net as the Lady Pirates turned their early 1-0 count to a 4-0 tally by the 13th minute. For good measure, Willis added another goal less than 25 minutes later as a shot from the right edge of the box bounced off the crossbar and fell in, which gave the senior her first career hat trick as a Wheelersburg soccer player.
“Lyndlee got the first hat trick of her career with us, so we’re really happy to see that come to fruition for her,” Jarvis said. “It’s good to see her get a goal from distance, and it’s always good to see us finish around the net. We’re more than capable of that.”
After lighting and thunder delayed the contest for nearly an hour, play resumed with the understanding that both teams would only be playing one half, as agreed upon by the coaches.
Those factors, however, didn’t change Wheelersburg’s mindset or stop the Lady Pirates from simply annihilating the Chesapeake defense. In the 21st minute, Laney Eller added a nice touch off of excellent combination play, and Chelsee Humble, through her gritty play, added a goal of her own in the 25th minute.
“The ladies have worked hard in the offseason,” Jarvis said. “They’ve worked hard throughout the summer to get ready, so it’s good to see them get out there and do some good things.”
After recording eight shots on goal, Humble was finally rewarded with her hard work as the senior pounded home a goal in the 36th minute, and Willis followed with her aforementioned hat-trick tallying goal one minute later to set the final tally.
“Madison is a great addition to the group,” Jarvis said of the senior midfielder. “She moves into a solid team and makes us even more solid. She’s a great leader, and she’ll be a big plus for us as the year goes on.”
With the victory, Wheelersburg got its district title defense off to a strong start as the Lady Pirates moved to 1-0 on the year. The Lady Pirates will face its first tremendous test on Thursday, when Wheelersburg squares off against Russell (Ky.), the defending champions of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s 16th Region.
“Our recommendation is about keeping our minds on one game at a time,” Jarvis said. “That’s how we’re going to attack it. We had a great season, but last year was last year, and this year is this year. We’ve got this one in the books, and we’re 1-0, so that’s a great start for the Lady Pirates. We’ll get our legs back under us and go to Russell (Ky.) on Thursday. We know that they’re an experienced group, and they’re always a force in Kentucky, so we always enjoy playing them.”
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @ColleyKevin7