On Saturday afternoon in rainy conditions, the Wheelersburg Lady Pirates girls’ soccer team did something they haven’t been able to do in the last two seasons: top Lynchburg Clay, and there were able to do so off goals from seniors Sophie Hagans and Libby Miller to propel them to the regional semifinals next week.
“Lynchburg Clay is there, and they’ve been the perennial obstacle for us and we knew we’d see them again” said Wheelersburg head coach Todd Jarvis following his team’s district championship victory in Waverly Saturday afternoon, “We were able to come out on top this time, that’s a great thing. They’ve set the bar high in the Southeastern district for years and Wheelersburg’s been close, been Cinderella a time or two. This year we’re there, and we were able to break through today. It was a great performance by the Lady Pirates.”
Lynchburg Clay set the tone early for the district championship between themselves and Wheelersburg with a goal in the first two minutes of the game at the 38:19 mark of the first half when Riley Creditt scored and was assisted by Kaylee Lunsford.
Although the Lady Mustangs were able to get on the scoreboard early, the Wheelersburg defense would really step up as the match progressed, as well as goal keeper Morgan Bivens who had nine saves, three in the first half and six in the second.
The Lady Pirates first goal of the match would come off the foot of senior Sophie Hagans unassisted at the 22:51 mark of the first half to even things up between Wheelersburg and Lynchburg Clay. The score would remain tied entering the halftime break.
Not even four minutes into the second half, the Lady Pirates scored their second and ultimately their final goal of the game when senior forward Libby Miller was able to find the back of the net unassisted. Again, the Wheelersburg defense and Bivens would step up to keep the Lady Mustangs out of the net to take home the district championship with a 2-1 victory in Waverly Saturday afternoon.
“As you move forward and go through the tournament bracket, your leadership rises to the top, especially as captains, and we expected nothing less” said Jarvis when speaking of his two senior goal scorers on Saturday, “And Christen Risner, those three ladies’ work extremely hard on the field. And then they’re surrounding by eight others. We got a little bit of a slow start, giving one up within the first two minutes. But our ladies hung in there and we settled in a little bit and we worked our plan. We had a plan coming in and we worked it and the girls’ pulled it off.”
The Lady Pirates advance on to face the Alexander Spartans in the regional semifinals next Tuesday night in Waverly at 7:00 p.m. with a spot in the regional championship on the line.
“We’re not going to make a ton of changes” said Jarvis in preparation for Tuesday’s regional semifinal match, “We’re going to make a few tweaks here and there, but we’re going to run a system and we’re going to come at you and we’re going to try and beat you. That’s just how we’ll play, and I expect them to do the same thing. At this stage, you just match up and try to go at each other. What you hope is that one of your players out of the eleven starts to rise up and start to make some great plays.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT