The two Pocahontas County High School Soccer Teams were both seeded #1 in the combined Class A/AA Section 1 of Region 3. Both ranked PCHS squads faced the unranked but tough Class AA Nicholas County High School teams on October 22 in Beckley in the two Section 1 championships. The two NCHS teams, both seeded #3, upset the two Midland Trail teams, both seeded #2, on Wednesday to advance to Thursday’s finals vs PCHS. Nicholas County was moved to Class AA from Class AAA in 2012.
The #20 ranked PCHS girls advanced with a 1-0 win over #4 seed Class AA James Monroe (2-10-0) in the opening sectional game in Beckley on Tuesday, October 20. The #13 ranked PCHS boys moved on with a 7-0 win over #4 seed Greater Beckley Christian (0-14-1).
Nobody would score in the ladies sectional final in the first 34 minutes of play. But with 5:29 to go in the first half, NCHS senior Dominique Villasenor, who looks taller than the 5’5″ height listed on the SSAC website, would put the Grizzlies on the scoreboard first with a long, high kick over the head of senior PCHS goalie Emily Boothe. At the end of the first half Nicholas was up 1-0.
That score seemed to ignite both squads, and Villasenor would score again with 35:51 to go in the second half for the 2-0 NCHS lead. About 13 minutes later PCHS senior Brittany McMillion scored the Lady Warriors’ first goal with 23:09 to go. McMillion had eight shots on goal in the match.
PCHS senior Kayleigh Arbogast exploded for two scores at the 5:46 and 4:50 to go marks putting PCHS up by one point, 3-2, for their first lead. Arbogast had seven shots on goals, and those two scores were her last two tries. That 3-2 score would hold, and the Pocahontas team, coaches and fans celebrated their 2015 sectional championship. NCHS dropped to 6-13-1)
The Lady Warriors (13-8-0) are now one win away from making it to the Final Four state soccer tournament in Beckley. The 2008 PCHS girls and boys teams have been the only ones to make it to states
Two stats showed how the Lady Warriors (now 13-8-0) dominated one side of the game. PCHS had 28 shots on goal to only six for Nicholas. The NCHS goalie, sophomore Elena Strader, had to grab 28 keeper saves to four for PCHS senior Emily Boothe. PCHS also had six corner kicks to three for NCHS.
Coaches Shannon Arbogast in his first year of coaching the teams and Culley McCurdy in his third year will take their talented girls to Summersville Thursday to face #11 Class AA PIkeview (11-5-0), who beat #10 Class AA Bluefield 1-0 in the Section 2 Championship to advance.
The boys game Thursday got fast and rough quickly, and the first half ended in a scoreless tie. About six minutes into the second half, super-fast Nicholas senior Matthew Bennett dribbled in solo for the 1-0 lead. Two minutes later Senior Trey Walton passed to senior Austin Hubbert who headed the ball beautifully into the net for the 1-1 tie. PCHS took the lead 2-1 with 19:19 to go on a penalty kick by senior all-stater (HM) Chad Friel after a Nicholas hand ball in the box. With 11:30 to go, Grizzly senior Ethan Miller tied the match at 2-2 putting a rebounded ball back into our goal.
The game got even more rough and testy, and junior Connor Pyles hit the deck with 3;32 to go. Regulation time would end in a 2-2 tie, so the match went into a 10 minute sudden death overtime. An NCHS hand ball in the box that should have been a PCHS penalty kick was missed by the referee with 8:10 to go. With 4:48 to go, a Nicholas County player would find a hole in some confusion near the goal line and score sending the Grizzlies (10-9-1) into the regional championship game, on their home field Thursday, vs #9 Bluefiield (11-5-0). The Warriors were devastated, and the Grizzlies (10-9-1) wildly celebrated their upset.
The senior boys will all be missed next year: Gavin Gilmore, Austin Hubbert, Trey Walton, Conlin Halterman and Chad Friel.
The two Region 3 championships will be played at 5 p.m. (girls) and 7 p.m. (boys) in Summersville October 29, at the NCHS football/soccer field.
The #20 PCHS girls (13-8-0) will play #11 Class AA Pikeview (11-5-0) at 5 p.m. Pikeview lost to James Monroe 1-6 on October 8. PCHS beat James Monroe twice on October 1 and 12 by scores of 6-0 and 5-2, so we will see what happens Thursday. Pikeview beat Nicholas County by scores of 2-1 and 4-1. #11 Pikeview beat #10 Class AA Bluefield (11-6-0) by a score of 1-0 in the Section 2 final and they split wins in the regular season.
The only other Class A school besides PCHS to make it into one of the four A/AA regional finals is #1 ranked and defending state champion Charleston Catholic ( 20-1-1) who faces #4 Sissonville (14-4-1) in Region IV. Region 1 has unranked Weir (11-6-2) vs #8 Fairmont Senior (9-5-2). Region 2 finds #7 Grafton (12-4-5) vs #2 Robert C. Byrd (16-2-2).
All girls A/AA games are on Thursday at 5 p.m.
Please plan to car pool to Summersville Thursday, and support your Lady Warriors as they try to make the second-ever trip to states in girls soccer.