A great season for the Wheelersburg Lady Pirates soccer team came to an end Tuesday night in Waverly as the Lady Pirates fell to the Alexander Lady Spartans in their regional semifinal matchup, 2-1.
“They’re certainly upset and disappointed and I’m disappointed, nobody likes to lose” said Lady Pirates head coach Todd Jarvis following their loss Tuesday night, “But it was a 2-1 battle in the regional semifinal and that’s what you’d expect to see. I expected no less. Alexander brings forth a really good squad. If you look at what’s going on out there you had two boys’ teams with Athens and Alexander, and you had a girls’ team with Alexander who’s still alive, and that says they’re doing some good stuff out there and that’s evident by the play on the field. The middle of the field for them did a wonderful job. They’re well coached and they move the ball well around the field. We talked about set pieces, that being one of the things they pride themselves on and we gave one up on a set piece there in the second half to let them go up 2-1. We had a couple chances, and we just didn’t convert. Libby Miller did a great job of converting and getting one in and tying up the game. We play hard and we try to force you into mistakes, that’s how we play. Tonight, they managed it better than we did, hats off to Albany Alexander and we wish them the best as they continue to move forward.”
The contest between the two girls’ soccer power programs in Southern Ohio started off very even and remained so throughout. The first monumental moment happened around the midpoint of the first half when it appeared as if Wheelersburg senior Kristin Risner had a goal in which she slid into the net, but after a conference of the officials, they determined that Risner had touched the ball with her hand in her sliding attempt and accordingly negated the Lady Pirates goal to keep the score tied at 0-0.
Just over six minutes of play later, Alexander freshman Amora Albano found the back of the net at the 13:52 mark of the first half to give the Lady Spartans the 1-0 lead which would hold through the remainder of the half.
Wheelersburg would come out of the halftime break looking to score to even things up. The Lady Pirates were able to do so thanks to a goal by senior Libby Miller who Jarvis previously mentioned. Miller was assisted by fellow senior Sophie Hagans at the 34:01 mark of the second half to tie things up at 1-1.
Unfortunately for the Lady Pirates, Alexander had their own plans of retaking the lead the held for nearly twenty minutes of game action. Just under a minute later, at the 33:08 mark of the second half, Lady Spartans junior Taylor Meadows was able to find the back of the net to give Alexander the 2-1 lead. Despite their best efforts, Wheelersburg was not able to score again for the rest of the match, giving the Lady Spartans the victory to advance on to the regional championship on Saturday.
Wheelersburg graduates four players this year’s regional semifinalist team: Miller, Hagans, Risner, and Meena Kirkendall.
Following their tough loss, Jarvis was very appreciative of the time, effort, and leadership his four seniors have provided over their playing careers.
“You don’t replace them” said Jarvis, “They’ve left indelible marks on this program and you don’t replace them. The good thing about the program is that hopefully it’s the next one up. We have younger girls and they’ll have to work. I hope that they’ve been mentored, and they’ve seen the effort that it takes, and that’s my hope. They’re not replaceable. The statistics and accolades they’ve had over the last four years in incredible. We’ll miss them greatly and their great leadership. I’m losing a three year captain and a two year captain and that’s not easy to do. They’ve been exemplary players, we could stand hear all evening and I could tell you great things about them. We’ll miss them.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT