Boys soccer: Hurricane boasts strong defense, potent offense
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- This is the season the Hurricane boys soccer team hopes to break through.
The top-ranked Redskins will be heavily favored when they face Hedgesville at 5 p.m. today at Schoenbaum Stadium in Coonskin Park in the Secondary School Activities Commission State Soccer Tournament.
Among the best teams in the state the last few years, Coach Jim Dagostine's Redskins have come up short in their quest for a crown.
Last year it was a 1-0 loss to eventual champion George Washington in the semifinals.
The Redskins (21-0-1) lead the state in scoring defense, allowing just 0.47 goals per game.
Thanks mainly to Chilean exchange student Felipe Thompson, their offense has become much more of a threat. He has scored 46 goals this season while Trevor Cunningham and Alex White have added 12 and 11 respectively.
That brings up one clear reason Hurricane will be favored over Hedgesville (14-6-1) - the Eagles have scored a combined three fewer goals than Thompson on the season.
Hedgesville is led by Sebeay Chi with 10 goals flowed by Jesus Garcia with eight and Skip Coleman with six.
Eagles senior keeper Ethan Waters has allowed just 22 goals (1.1 per game) this year.
Parkersburg accounted for the only blemish on Hurricane's record, playing the Redskins to a 1-1 tie late in the season.
The second-ranked Big Reds (16-3-4) have been erratic with results like that being offset by outcomes like a 2-0 loss to South Charleston and a 3-1 loss at Winfield.
George Washington won the regular season meeting 3-0 on Sept. 4.
"I think everybody's got a chance," Patriot Coach Tom Hopper said. "We have to control the ball, have patience, and a little bit of luck."
The fifth-ranked Patriots (16-5-2) are also a low-scoring bunch with just 52 goals on the season and are led by Noah Miller and Garrett Warner with 12 and 10 goals respectively.
Junior keeper Garrett Phillips has recorded 14 shutouts as George Washington has allowed less than a goal per game.
While the Patriots will be looking to repeat and pick up their third state soccer title, Parkersburg will be shooting for a seventh title in its first state tournament appearance since 2009.
The Big Reds have won the event six of the eight times in which they have qualified.
They are led by keeper Reid Strobl and the senior quartet of Zac Wilcoxen, Tyler Broadwater, Garrett Kruger and Cameron Morris.