Boys soccer: Charleston Catholic gets shot at fifth consecutive title
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)."
In ending its season at 18-7, Parkersburg Catholic Coach Shane Hartshorn said. He "was more than pleased" with his team despite their lopsided setback to the Irish.
Parkersburg Catholic fields a co-ed soccer team, and starts three girls.
"It means a lot ot me," Hartshorn said.
"We start three girls all the time. My girls are just as tough as most of the boys on the field. I have a freshman goalie (female Marijka Lych-Paspor).
"Charleston Catholic is the defending state champions. They probably have close to 15 traveling kids on their team and most of my kids are in their second year playing soccer."
Burdette led the Irish offense with two goals, leading scorer on the season Joey Trupo tallied one, along with Thad Jameson, and Anthony Cipollone.
Hartshorn attributed some of the Crusaders' struggles to the school having a football program.
"They don't have football and we do," Hartshorn said. "They aren't competing with each other and getting most of the top athletes in the school to play. Most of my kids are basketball players or haven't played soccer since they were nine."