The Wheelersburg Lady Pirates girls’ soccer team were able to advance to the district championship game on Saturday with a tight 1-0 victory over Westfall on a chilly Tuesday night at Waverly thanks to Sophie Hagans second half goal that would end up being the difference maker in their semifinal contest.
“Hats off to Westfall” said Wheelersburg head coach Todd Jarvis following their victory Tuesday night, “They had a great plan in place. We kind of saw it ahead of time and knew that we were confident in that way that we did things. We just continued to stay the course and if we were able to finish a little bit better, we’re able to have five or six goals. Like I told the ladies, we got one, and one is all that it takes to move on. As long as we have one more than the other team, we’re going to be able to move on to the next game. But again, hats off to Westfall. It’s their first time making it here to the district semifinals, and their coach had a great group of young ladies. I was proud of my girls. We struggled with some assignments in the first half, they kind of kept us out of our rhythm. But I felt like in the second half we made some adjustments and were able to get to the ball a little bit sooner, and I thought we had the kids ready to play in the second half.”
As Jarvis mentioned, the Lady Pirates were able to create a number of scoring opportunities in the first half, but none of which were able to get past Westfall junior goalkeeper Marcy Dudgeon. Dudgeon was able to net a total of seven saves from the eight Wheelersburg shots on goal which is incredible when considering the number of scoring options the Lady Pirates have showcased this season. Nevertheless, Wheelersburg and Westfall remained tied 0-0 at the intermission.
After the half, things remained much of the same as the Lady Pirates were able to create a number of scoring opportunities, most of which Dudgeon was able to stop. The one she was not able to stop, however, came off the foot of senior midfielder Sophie Hagans at the 26:42 mark of the second half off an assist from fellow senior Libby Miller to give Wheelersburg the 1-0 lead.
The ball wouldn’t find the back of the net again despite both teams’ best efforts meaning Wheelersburg was able to advance to the district championship game with a victory over the Westfall Lady Mustangs. The Lady Pirates will now begin to prepare for their district championship bout with Lynchburg Clay for the third consecutive season. In 2016, the Lady Pirates fell to the Lady Mustangs of Lynchburg Clay 6-1 in the regional semifinals and a year later, the Lady Pirates faced the same team in the Lady Mustangs and once again fell short in the regional semifinals by a score of 1-0. In the third battle in the same number of years, however, these two area girls’ soccer powerhouses will meet in the district championship, one round prior to their usual meeting place.
“We look forward to it” said Jarvis, “We were hoping to get here. We talked about as a team controlling the controllables. Us being the two seed, we have to face Lynchburg Clay a little bit sooner than we would have had to if we were the one. That’s okay, though. They’re a quality program, Dennis West has done a spectacular job with those ladies’ out there. We know we have our work cut out for us. I know our ladies will be prepared and that we’ll give them a good solid match. Last year we went to about the 93rd minute before they were finally able to squeeze one in. I anticipate a similar type of struggle, that’s my hope. I’m confident that we’ll play well, if we just do our jobs then we’ll compete. That’s all you ask for from a Saturday afternoon is that you play hard, give it your best, and tip your hat to whichever team has the highest number on the scoreboard.”
The Lady Pirates and Lady Mustangs are currently scheduled to play their district championship match at Waverly at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 27th.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT