Boys State Soccer Tournament: Parkersburg dethrones defending champs
There will be a new Class AAA boys soccer champion in 2012.
Parkersburg made sure of that with a 1-0 win over defending champ George Washington in a semifinal match Tuesday evening at Coonskin Park's Schoenbaum Soccer Complex.
The win avenged a regular season loss to the Patriots and propelled the Big Reds (17-3-4) into today's state title match where they'll face unbeaten Hurricane (22-0-1).
George Washington's season ended with a 16-6-2 mark.
Parkersburg will try for its seventh state title today, which is scheduled to begin 45 minutes after the conclusion of the Class AAA championship slated for 10 a.m.
Parkersburg senior Garrett Kruger netted the match's only goal when he slipped a shot past GW keeper Garrett Phillips at the 7:57 mark of the first half.
"Tyler Broadwater kicked the ball in and it deflected off of one of their players," said Kruger. "I got the volley and it hit off another one of their players' back and just right inside the net."
Parkersburg Coach Don Fosselman credited the effort of both teams in the hard fought match.
"GW's team played excellent tonight," Fosselman said. "I think they had more possession than we did. They just played outstanding ... we beat a very, very good team tonight. My hat's off to GW because that game could of gone either way.
"But hats off to our guys, too, for maintaining that one-goal lead and playing good. We played with our backs to the wall a little bit and it worked out well for us. It was a good game, a very good game."
There was a bit a controversy in the match when the Patriots appeared to have tied the score on what looked like a goal by junior Mark Davis with 19:38 remaining.
But the indirect kick floated untouched just over the fingertips of Parkersburg keeper Reid Strobl, negating the score. An indirect free kick must enter the net after touching a player from either team first.
The Patriots disputed the call, claiming the ball had touched Strobl's fingers first, thus making the goal legal, but the objection was to no avail.
"It did (touch Strobl)," said GW senior Garrett Warner. "I saw it. It did. It's as simple as that."
GW Coach Tom Hopper wasn't sure that Strobl had made contact, but also wasn't aware that the kick had been ruled indirect.
"I never saw an indirect kick indicated, but I could have missed it," said Hopper. "I didn't see the signal. I don't know if anyone saw the signal or not and the ball...we thought it did touch the keeper's hand at some point though.
"It's a judgment call. Who knows?"
Strobl had a different account of what took place.
"I did not," said Strobl when asked directly whether he'd touched the ball or not. "I thought it was a goal though because I thought it was a direct kick.
"I was all like dangit I just let one in, but I actually didn't touch the ball. Luckily it wasn't direct."
The championship match will be a rematch from the regular season in which the Big Reds placed the only blemish on Hurricane's season with a 1-1 tie in the regular season finale.
Fosselman knows that it will take his team's best effort to upset the top-ranked Redskins.
"We're going to have to play better," said Fosselman. "I don't know if we played our best game tonight. We played good enough to win, but possession will have to come up 100 percent.
"We did not possess the ball well, but we'll try to keep the ball out of their hands a little bit. But they'll counterattack. This is going to be a tough, tough game. They're so good."