RIPLEY, W.Va. -- Even in a "down" season, the four-time defending Class AA/A state championship Charleston Catholic boys soccer team proved it still had more than enough to be one of the top programs in the state.
The Irish advanced to their sixth consecutive State Tournament with a 5-0 victory over Parkersburg Catholic in the Class AA/A Region 4 Championship soccer match Thursday at Ripley High School.
Catholic advances to the State Tournament at the YMCA Soccer Complex in Beckley, where the Irish will play East Fairmont at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
The Irish (15-3-3), the top-ranked team in the West Virginia High School Soccer Coaches' Association Class AA/A Poll, will be looking for their fifth straight state title.
"Hopefully we win another state championship," Catholic junior Roger Burdette said. "It says a lot about Catholic soccer. It means a lot. The seniors left and were really good. We just want to be like them."
This season has been one the Irish hasn't been accustomed to, with the team losing three games. Catholic was riding a 64-match unbeaten streak before a loss to Linsly in late September.
Despite the defeats, the Irish seem to have used the setbacks as motivation.
"The losses were huge for us," Burdette said. "I think they helped us out and built us as a team. We grew as a team and bonded."
"How many teams do you know that never lost a game," Catholic Coach Domenic Cipollone said. "These guys came together. I think the GW game turned us around (1-1 tie on Oct. 8th)."