It was a match with big implications, and a chance to get a look at two of the best girls soccer teams in the SOC at Wheelersburg on Thursday night when the Pirates hosted the Waverly Tigers.
Wheelersburg was competing for their third straight SOC title, while Waverly was looking to perhaps steal a big win over their conference rival. At the end, though, it was the Pirates who prevailed by a score of 9-1.
The win was one to remember for Wheelersburg head coach Todd Jarvis.
“It’s outstanding,” Jarvis said. “That’s our goal going in, to win the conference, and we thought we had a real opportunity.”
That opportunity presented itself for Jarvis and his team, and the Pirates took advantage.
“To be SOC champs, to win your conference, that’s a great thing,” Jarvis said. “It’s an honor, it’s a privilege, and to do something like that the Lady Pirates should be very proud of what they accomplished.”
In order to get the win, six different players scored goals for Wheelersburg in what was a day of fireworks for the Pirates offense.
The scoring distribution is something that has been favorable for Wheelersburg all season long.
“The distribution is what’s remarkable,” Jarvis said. “We’re very challenging to defend for that one reason.”
Jarvis added “we’ve probably had 10 or 12 girls score, and some of them with multiple goals. It’s very great to see that they distribute the ball, they pass the ball, and they play the game the way it’s meant to be played.”
At the start of the match, though, it was the Tigers who came out firing.
Wheelersburg keeper Morgan Bivens made a nice save on a Zoiee Smith shot four minutes into the match to keep it scoreless.
That stop paid off for the Pirates, as Libby Miller scored just seconds later on a feed from McKailyn Wamsley. At 35:33 in the first, Wheelersburg had a 1-0 lead.
With 28:33 remaining before the break, the Pirates got on the board once again. A corner kick went in the direction of Sophie Hagans, who was credited with an assist when she found Lyndlee Willis for the goal. Wheelersburg now had a 2-0 lead.
Waverly was able to stay alive early when Smith scored at 21:47 in the first half to pull the Tigers within one, 2-1.
It seemed that Waverly was back in the thick of things, but Hagans got a score of her own with 12:15 before halftime over the head of the Tigers keeper to take a 3-1 lead.
Hagans then struck a direct kick several minutes later that found Christen Risner heading towards the back right corner of the field. Risner was able to gain momentum and sent a shot over the Waverly keeper’s head on a ball that bent perfectly back to the left corner for another Pirates score.
With 9:37 left in the first half, Wheelersburg was up 4-1.
The Pirates just missed a shot with three minutes to play that landed off the left corner of the goal post. At halftime, Wheelersburg led 4-1.
Offense wasn’t letting up in the second half for the Pirates, either.
Just over five minutes in to the second frame, Madison Humble scored on a dish from Risner that was deflected off the Waverly keeper right back to Humble, who knocked it in with ease. Wheelersburg now led 5-1 with 34:16 to play.
At 17:27, the Pirates struck once more. This time Willis found the net for the second time of the match on a pass from Miller.
The match was winding down, but the Wheelersburg offense wasn’t. Rama Soumakieh found Risner for another goal with 14:44 left. Then, Ellie Kallner found Humble for another score at the 9:20 point. Lastly, Laney Ellner scored with 2:38 remaining for the final score to put the Pirates up 9-1.
All in all, it was a chance for the team to get everyone involved on their way to winning a conference title. The passing from Wheelersburg was wonderful throughout, and has been a theme of the team this season.
“They’re unselfish in their approach to things and they love to see other girls knock it in the net,” Jarvis said about his Pirates.
Along with passing, Wheelersburg has brought several other assets to the table in 2017.
“We may not be the greatest in skills, but we do not lack in heart and hard work,” Jarvis said. “Those are things that are just commendable to the young ladies on their behalf, it’s nothing we can do in coaching. It’s a good indicator of what they’re made of.”
With the win, the Pirates are now 14-0-1 this season. They will play their last match of the season next Wednesday (Oct. 11) at Portsmouth West.
Reach Benjamin Spicer at (502)264-7318 or on Twitter @BSpicerPDT
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