WHEELERSBURG — The Wheelersburg Lady Pirates are indeed back for more.
Following a one-year hiatus from the Division III district tournament due to competing as a Division II program in the 2019 season, Wheelersburg punched its ticket into this year’s district tournament — with a 3-1 win over South Point at Ed Miller Stadium.
Wheelersburg (13-3-1) hasn’t dropped a game in over a month since a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Ironton St. Joe — winning six contests and tying once in the seven-game span to end the regular season and begin the postseason.
Thursday’s win marked the fourth time in the last five seasons that the Lady Pirates’ program qualified for the district stage, with last year’s Division II sectional final loss at Fairfield Union being the only exception.
Halftime adjustments allowed for two Wheelersburg second-half goals in its win over the Lady Pointers, Lady Pirates coach Todd Jarvis said.
“We made some adjustments with what our approach was going to be. Talked more about discipline, pressure on the ball and overall activity,” Jarvis said. “I thought the girls rose to that occasion. All you can do is challenge them, it’s up to them to perform and execute, and so I was really pleased with the performance of the Lady Pirates in the second half.”
Bella Miller scored at the first half’s 12:03 mark by being at the right place, right time — following a Laney Eller shot that ricocheted off the crossbar and landed at the freshman’s feet.
Miller’s goal gave the Lady Pirates a 1-0 advantage over the Lady Pointers going into the halftime break.
Wheelersburg expanded on its lead quickly out of the locker room — thanks to a Jocelyn Tilley goal just 3:57 into the second half.
Tilley’s goal was assisted by Annie Coriell, who herself scored Wheelersburg’s third goal with 18:36 remaining on an assist by Tilley.
South Point’s lone goal came with just 3:32 left in the game on a penalty kick.
Lady Pirates goalkeeper Brynley Preston made seven saves in the sectional final win.
Wheelersburg (No. 2 seed) will take on Fairfield (No. 7 seed) at the district stage inside the friendly confines of Ed Miller Stadium — a byproduct of district semifinal games in the Southeast District being played at the higher seed’s home field rather than at Waverly’s Raidiger Field.
While playing on their home turf does provide the all-important home-field advantage, Jarvis says it will be different not travelling to Waverly for their opening-round district game — the site of each of their three district championship runs.
“We’re at home, but we’ll miss Waverly,” Jarvis said. “We love to play there — we’ve had great success at Waverly. Who knows where we’ll end up, but we’ll work to get through Tuesday. Fairfield’s going to bring two girls that have absolutely proven they can get the ball in the back of the net. Our job will be to try and slow that down and figure out a way to get a few more goals than they do.”
The Lady Pirates welcome the Lady Lions to EMS on Tuesday with a 6 p.m. scheduled start time.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved