WHEELERSBURG — Two of the Southeast District’s premier girls soccer programs added yet another tight contest to their series history.
Since the 2014 season, Wheelersburg and Alexander have met at least once in either the regular season or postseason tournaments.
Of their nine meetings in the last eight seasons, the Lady Pirates have tied with the Lady Spartans on four occasions.
Saturday’s 2-0 win and last fall’s 3-0 road win at Alexander have now tilted the series in ‘Burg’s favor.
Wheelersburg’s shutout win was their third shutout in their last four games and sixth overall, helping improve their record to 10-1-0.
Their team’s defensive performance on Saturday — and in each of their wins during their current six-game win streak — have been big parts in their success as of late, ‘Burg coach Todd Jarvis said afterwards.
“We do pride ourselves in trying to really defend, that’s a big part of this game. We do our best and those ladies do a stellar job — Allie Vallance, Olivia Deacon, Madison Kotcamp, Teagan Staggs, Jaelin Thomas, and Brynley Preston to smooth it all out back there as our keeper,” Jarvis said. “It’s a relentless job and they (Alexander) can really attack.”
Jarvis said a focus in their defensive gameplan was using freshman Mia Vastine and her Lady Pirate teammate defenders to slow down Alexander senior Amora Albano.
Even though it was a role his freshman forward hadn’t gotten the chance to execute in a in-game situation prior, he felt she and the Lady Pirates’ defense excelled as a whole.
“Today, we asked Mia Vastine to play a role she’s never played. We understood that Amora (Albano) is an absolute difference maker,” Jarvis said. “Our objective was to try and negate that as best we could, and I thought we did a great job in that.”
An early goal by junior Annie Coriell that was assisted by sophomore Bella Miller just five minutes into the first half gave Wheelersburg a lead for much of the contest.
Miller gave the Lady Pirates an insurance goal with just 13 minutes left in the game, and broke a tie with Coriell for the team-lead in goals.
Miller’s 13th goal of the season made it 2-0 Lady Pirates, while Coriell has scored 12 in the team’s first 11 games.
Junior Jocelyn Tilley’s team-leading 16th assist helped set up Miller’s insurance goal.
“When you’re playing from ahead, it makes the game so much easier,” Jarvis said. “Annie cut that ball with her right foot and from my angle we could kind of see it, when she let loose it looked good and it was. She’s been playing really well. I could see late, that if given the right opportunity, then Bella would have a chance. You try to teach them to be patient because the first 15 runs you might not get it, but the 16th run you do. That’s discipline and she’s learning it well.”
Wheelersburg will travel to Northwest on Thursday (Sept. 30) for a Southern Ohio Conference match against the Lady Mohawks.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved