CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Parkersburg has more wins than any team in West Virginia boys high school soccer history and reached a milestone this season as the first program in the state to reach 400 wins.
Today the Big Reds take part in their 10th state tournament with a Class AAA semifinal match against Winfield in search of the program's seventh state championship. All six state titles and all 416 wins have come under the guidance of the only coach in PHS history - Don Fossleman.
Last season the Big Reds (17-1-3) advanced to the Class AAA title game before falling to Hurricane. Parkersburg lost six seniors (with three starters) from that team, but boasts seven 12th graders - all starters - on this year's roster.
"We're excited about going back," Fossleman said. "That was a promise we made to ourselves. We recommitted ourselves. Since the (postseason) tournament started, we haven't given up a goal."
The Big Reds shut out Parkersburg South, Wheeling Park and Morgantown to earn the trip to Beckley, but know they have a dangerous match against a confident Winfield team. Fossleman specifically mentioned the Generals' Steven Taylor, who scored all three goals in Winfield's 3-2 win against Huntington in the Region 4 final, as a player his team will have to account for at all times.
"We played (Winfield) earlier in the year and beat them 4-0," Fosselman said. "The last week I've been trying to get that 4-0 out of their heads. Winfield beat us a year ago down at their place. We understand the team we're going to face is very motivated being the first time they've ever won their region."
BRIDGEPORT IS back to defend its Class AA/A girls championship. The Indians (15-3-3) face PikeView (15-5-1) in a match between state powers. The Panthers are in the State Tournament for the fourth time in the last five years.
Last year's title was the first for Bridgeport. Despite that, Indians Coach John Reese said he did not feel like his team had to play with a target on their backs this season. Bridgeport lost nine seniors from the 2012 squad and was without standout junior Amanda Saymon, who was lost for the season with a knee injury just prior to the start of high school soccer season.