WAVERLY — Wheelersburg wasted no time punching its ticket to the district finals in Waverly on Tuesday night.
The Pirates game against Peebles got out of hand rather fast, as Wheelersburg dominated the Indians in an 8-0 shellacking.
Six different players scored for the Pirates, and nearly everyone on the roster saw the field in what was an impressive performance all around.
“It was a good win for the Lady Pirates,” head coach Todd Jarvis said. “I would like to say there was a standout for the whole night, but we got a lot of great play from a lot of different people. Everyone has to play well to move forward, and that’s what we did tonight.”
A frenzy of goals came in the first half, as Wheelersburg scored four times in a frame of eight minutes.
First up, Chelsee Steele put the Pirates on the board in the 12th minute on a feed from Sophie Hagans.
Next, Hagans got in on the action herself on a pass from Madison Humble in the 18th to put Wheelersburg up 2-0.
In the 20th minute, the Pirates struck twice. Libby Miller was the first to score in the 20th, on a dish from Laney Eller. Then, Humble got an unassisted goal to push the lead to 4-0.
“We had a chance to move the ball and pass the ball,” Jarvis said. “A lot of different people had a chance to score.”
Miller scored her second goal of the match just two minutes before halftime when Lyndlee Willis found her open for a shot. At the break, Wheelersburg looked well in control, up 5-0.
The offensive onslaught continued into the second half, too.
Humble scored once again on an unassisted shot in the 55th minute. To create space, Humble dribbled the ball perfectly away from a Peebles defender, and then had a wide open lane to shoot. With the opening, Humble is nearly automatic as she has proven all season.
Two minutes later, in the 57th minute, Willis got a goal of her own on a pass from Christen Risner to put the Pirates in front 7-0.
The eighth and final goal of the game was from Risner, who ran the soccer equivalent of a fastbreak. Risner took the ball herself from one end of the field to the other, and would not be denied on her way to scoring in the 75th minute.
While the offense was certainly spectacular, it was the defense who pitched a shutout and was able to possess the ball for nearly the entire match.
Peebles junior Breauna Shoemaker entered the contest as the all-time leading goal scorer for the Indians. Not only was she held scoreless against the Pirates, she was also hardly able to get a foot on the ball as Wheelersburg was relentless with its defensive pressure.
“We knew what they were going to bring at us,” Jarvis said. “Defensively, we did a really great job of denying them the ball a lot. We took care of the middle of the field, and our midfielders did a great job.”
“It’s an 11 person game, and that’s what you try to teach early on. I’m really proud of our ability to plan and deny people the ball and possess the ball.”
Another complete game for the Pirates is in the books, and it’s been awhile since Wheelersburg has been truly tested. Jarvis says that isn’t a concern for his team moving forward, regardless.
“Today was a great test to be honest,” Jarvis said. “It was 8-0, but we battled and they continued to come at us.”
“Ultimately you become more and more tested, but one day at a time and one match at a time. Whatever the score is, is what the score is, and we continue to play well.”
Next up for the Pirates are the Green Devils of North Adams. Both schools will look to win to advance to regionals. Wheelersburg beat the Green Devils 2-1 at North Adams on Sept. 9.
“We know at the beginning of the season that North Adams will be there in the end,” Jarvis said. “We know that they’re a great team out of that side of the [district]. We had a good match with them at their place.”
Only one will survive, and all there is to do now is wonder who it will be. The Pirates and Green Devils will face off in an ultimate showdown of ultimate destiny on Saturday in Waverly at 2:30 pm.
12th minute: Chelsee Steele goal assisted by Sophie Hagans (1-0 Wheelersburg)
18th minute: Sophie Hagans goal assisted by Madison Humble (2-0 Wheelersburg)
20th minute: Libby Miller goal assisted by Laney Eller (3-0 Wheelersburg)
20th minute: Madison Humble goal unassisted (4-0 Wheelersburg)
38th minute: Libby Miller goal assisted by Lyndlee Willis (5-0 Wheelersburg)
55th minute: Madison Humble goal unassisted (6-0 Wheelersburg)
57th minute: Lyndlee Willis goal assisted by Christen Risner (7-0 Wheelersburg)
75th minute: Christen Risner goal unassisted (8-0 Wheelersburg)
Reach Benjamin Spicer at (502)264-7318 on Twitter @BSpicerPDT or at Facebook.com/ReporterBenSpicer