CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- One of the area's best soccer rivalries, boys or girls, will write a new chapter this evening when Sissonville and Charleston Catholic meet for the Class AA/A Region 4 title at Ripley High School with a spot in next week's State Tournament on the line.
The Indians (19-0-3) and the Irish (19-1-2) certainly are not strangers as both programs have been the cream of the Class AA/A girls crop in the Kanawha Valley and consistently among the best in the state for some time.
That, however, has not made it an even series in recent seasons.
Indians Coach Ali Sadeghian said it has been some time since his team has been able to notch a win against Catholic despite their success against the rest of the valley and state.
"There's no excuse, we should be ready to play and obviously we're playing a very good team," Sadeghian said. "I don't know about the rivalry. It's been one-sided as far as their success against us so we'll do the best we can to make a good game out of it."
Sissonville and Catholic did not play during the 2013 regular season, leaving last year's Region 4 title game as the most recent memory of the rivalry for both teams.
In that game the Irish upset a Sissonville team that appeared to be on its way to a state championship on penalty kicks to advance to the State Tournament.
"Man, it's been a while (since Sissonville beat Charleston Catholic)," Sadeghian said. "We beat them in the regular season maybe six, seven years ago."
Indians senior captain Mary Schmeck said this year's team has made it a point to forget about that game and focus on what they had to do to get back to where they want to ultimately be - holding a trophy as Class AA/A state champions a week from Saturday in Beckley.
"For this year we're not really too focused on what we did last year," Schmeck said. "We're focused on working on what we had to do for this year and our strengths."
Sissonville junior captain Taylor Rhodes said while the team may not have been thinking much about what happened last year they always look forward to a chance to test their mettle against Catholic and that this year's Indians ability to communicate and work as a team on the pitch could help turn the tide against the Irish.
"We always work really well together," she said. "I feel like (we do that better) this year maybe more than we have in the past. We always have really good communication and everybody enjoys playing with each other."
CHARLESTON CATHOLIC'S boys are three wins away from claiming an unprecedented fifth-consecutive state championship, with Parkersburg Catholic (18-6-0) serving as it's Region 4 championship game oppponent.
The Irish (14-3-3) entered the season on a 55-match winning streak and ran that number to 64 before a loss to Linsly in late September. There were other bumps in the road - an oddity for Catholic teams in recent seasons - but Irish Coach Dom Chipollone said those unusual blemishes on their record perhaps served as a wake-up call to his team early in the season.
"I think the team finally gelled together and they're all playing very well," he said. "I think those losses actually gave the boys some incentive to play hard."