Prep soccer: South Charleston boys continue to make strides
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- To return to the level South Charleston soccer was when current Coach Ronnie Means played for the Black Eagles in the early part of the 2000s, the team needed wins against top competition.
That is exactly what happened for South Charleston last week as the Black Eagles beat defending Class AAA state champion Hurricane 3-1.
Means said it was a big win against a team that had given the Black Eagles fits in recent seasons.
"Last year we were up 1-0 on Hurricane at the half and they scored two goals real quick to start the second half," Means said.
"It was a motivating factor Thursday."
Wins like that have become more common since Means took over the program five years ago. Last season the Black Eagles were one of the surprise teams in Class AAA with all five of their losses coming against "top five" teams in the state, according to Means. This season SC is back at it with a 7-3-1 record, with the losses coming against traditional powers George Washington, Charleston Catholic and Parkersburg.
One key to the Black Eagle success has been leadership along its back line.
Senior Devonyet Harris, a four year starter and a sweeper, along with junior Noah Riley, a second-year starter at outside fullback, are two of SC's captains and have showed why with their play on defense.
"(Harris) is a guy I can go to and talk to about getting the team ready to play. He's been a heck of a defender for us this year," Means said. "(Riley) has been a pleasant surprise as a captain. He does all the right things."
One of the big question marks entering this season for South Charleston was at goalkeeper. The Black Eagles lost four-year starter Hunter Moles, who now plays at WVU Tech, and were faced with breaking in junior Jacob Gordon.
"We were nervous at first," Means said. "We didn't know how he was gong to react. He's played pretty solid and made some tough saves."
South Charleston's most recently scheduled game, at Huntington last Saturday, was cancelled and has not yet been rescheduled. The Black Eagles will play host to St. Albans today at Trace Fork Soccer Complex.
THE BOYS AND girls high school soccer rankings for the week ending Sept. 21 were released Monday by the West Virginia High School Soccer Coaches Association.
Charleston Catholic again holds the top spots in the boys and girls Class AA-A rankings. Sissonville also can boast of highly ranked boys and girls teams. The Indians boys come in at No. 5 and the girls are No. 2 in AA-A. Herbert Hoover's girls team is also ranked this week with the Huskies appearing at No. 7.
In Class AAA the undefeated George Washington boys team remains at No. 1. South Charleston is No. 9 with Hurricane at No. 12, St. Albans at No. 16 and Winfield at No. 18. The Generals' girls retain their spot at No. 1 in the AAA girls rankings. Hurricane, which plays Winfield today, is No. 2 this week. GW comes in at No. 4 with Spring Valley at No. 5, Riverside at No. 12 and St. Albans at No. 18. For complete list of rankings see page 2B.
The National Soccer Coaches Association of America will announce national and regional rankings this afternoon.
* * *
WINFIELD SENIOR Jayne Lawman has verbally committed to continue her soccer career close to home.
Lawman committed to Marshall according to an email from Generals Coach Marshall Hoff.
"I have attended several camps at the university (Marshall) and have had the opportunity to meet some of the current players and staff," Lawman said in an email to the Daily Mail. "I feel like this is a great fit for me, I am very excited to be able to have this opportunity to play at such a great university. The new soccer facilities are amazing. I can not wait to further my soccer career at the next level."
Lawman, a West Virginia Sports Writers Association Class AAA all-state first team selection in 2012 for the Generals state championship team, has 17 goals so far this season prior to Monday.
* * *
THE FOUR-TIME defending Class A state champion Charleston Catholic boys team not only lost its first game in three years last Friday, but the Irish are officially in the middle of a losing streak after also losing to Wheeling Park on Saturday.
Catholic's 2-1 loss to Linsly last week was the first Irish loss since a 2010 setback against Parkersburg.
The loss snapped a 64-game unbeaten streak for Charleston Catholic, which is 6-2-2 on the season. Since that game against Parkersburg nearly three years ago, the Irish have won three state championships as part of their current run of four consecutive Class AA-A titles.
Contact sportswriter Tom Bragg at email@example.com or 304-348-4871. Follow him on Twitter @TomBraggSports.