WAVERLY — Reaching the Division III district final has become tradition for the Wheelersburg Pirates boys soccer program.
With their 4-0 win over Lynchburg-Clay in a D-III district semifinal on Wednesday, ‘Burg has reached the district title game for the 5th-straight season.
A win over their next opponent — Ironton St. Joe — on Saturday would give the Pirates (15-1-2) their third-straight district title.
The Pirates played the Mustangs less than a month ago — a game in which ‘Burg came away with a 3-2 road win on Oct. 1.
In Wednesday’s shutout win over the Mustangs, the Pirates were able to put up three first half goals — two by junior Max Hagans and one via freshman Nick Sylvia.
“It’s always big at this stage of the season to get the first point on the board. We were fortunate enough to put three goals up in the first against a very well coached team,” ‘Burg coach Jon Estep said, after the game. “Those guys play hard — we knew that when we went up to their place, they scored first on us and had the advantage at half. Once we were able to get a goal or two, especially in these conditions, we knew it was going to be tough for them to come back.”
Hagans again found the back of the net in the second half for his third goal of the game — putting Wheelersburg ahead 4-0 with 30:33 left in the contest. His three scores amounted to his 41st, 42nd, and 43 goals thus far in his junior season.
For the final 30 minutes, the Pirate defense pitched a shutout to complete the team’s 11th shutout victory in 18 games.
“We talk about wanting to be playing our best soccer this time of the year,” Estep said. “I was hoping that a game like this would be able to kick start us and get our minds right. Score three early and pitch a shutout, I like where we’re at right now.”
Wheelersburg will face Ironton St. Joe in Saturday’s D-III district final at 11 a.m. at Jackson’s Alumni Stadium.
The Flyers earned their place in the district final following a penalty kick shootout over Valley in the late-game Wednesday.
“Make sure we’re healthy. We know Valley and St. Joe have had a history during the regular season, so it’s going to be a tough matchup either way,” Estep said. “This time of year, everyone’s fighting for their season. We’re fortunate enough to be back here, get some good work in practice and hopefully go win another district championship.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved