By Dan Stillwell
Register-Herald Sports Writer
It’s no surprise many consider Charleston Catholic the Class AA-A boys favorite in the W.Va. high school soccer state tournament, which begins today at the YMCA’s Carter Family Foundation Stadium.
The Fighting Irish are merely four-time defending champions, and are currently the No. 1 team AA-A in the W.Va. Soccer Association rankings.
They’ll take on No. 3 East Fairmont at 4:30 p.m. in the first semifinal game.
No. 4 PikeView faces No. 8 Robert C. Byrd in the second match, which starts 30 minutes after the conclusion of the opening game.
Charleston Catholic has compiled a 16-3-2 mark under first-year coach Domenic Cippilone. Its losses were to Linsly Academy (2-1), Wheeling Park (3-2) and Capital (4-3), while draws were at the hands of Oak Hill (4-4), St. Joseph (0-0) and AAA power George Washington (1-1).
Sophomore forward Joey Trupo powers an Irish attack that outscored opponents 54-22 in the regular season.
Trupo has scored a whopping 33 goals, while midfielders Roger Burdette and Anthony Cippilone have tallied 14 and 11.
Burdette had two goals in the 5-0 Region 4 win over Parkersburg Catholic. Goalkeeper Patrick Kline had one save.
Last year the Fighting Irish downed Fairmont Senior 5-0 in the AA-A final at Schoenbaum Field in Charleston.
East Fairmont (15-4-3) advanced from Region 1 this season by virtue of a 5-0 victory over Oak Glen. It’s the Bees’ first time in the state tournament.
Connor Fitz scored twice and Andrew Slusser, Colin Harvath and Logan Cerullo added single goals for the Fred Roman-coached Bees.
They defeated Fairmont Senior 2-0 in the sectionals as Harvath and Levi Perkins found the back of the net.
The winner of the game will meet the PikeView-Robert C. Byrd winner for the championship at approximately 1:45 p.m. Saturday.
Fairmont East’s losses were to Wheeling Park (3-0), Preston (3-1), Buckhannon-Upshur (2-1) and Fairmont Senior (1-0).
n PikeView brings a school-record 18-4-1 record against Robert C. Byrd (14-6-2). The Panthers, also under a first-year coach in Bill Hopkins, defeated Pocahontas County 4-2 last week for the Region 3 crown.
They outscored opponents 96-21 going into the postseason, keyed by a balanced attack and a strong defense.
Seth Wood has had a hand in much of the scoring, getting 22 goals and assisting on 15 others.
Hunter Klein also had a banner year with 17 goals and 12 assists.
Alec White tallied nine goals and helped on 11 others, while Isaac Van Blaricom had eight goals and 11 assists.
Keeper Austin Cordell compiled 15 shutouts and had 80 saves.
The Panthers, with yet another first-year coach, T.J. Hill, are making their second appearance at states in the past three season.
Their losses this season were to Fairmont Senior (2-1), Oak Hill (3-1 and 5-1) and Charleston Catholic (1-0).
Robert C. Byrd was without leading scorer Chaz Rodeheaver when it battled PikeView to a 2-2 draw in the opening game of the season for both teams.
He came back to scored 23 goals and make six assists.
Ross Thompson compiled eight goals and eight assists, while defensive standout Kevin Steele scored six times.
Zach Messersmith and Jeremy Bell had five goals each.
Bees goalkeeper Justin Welling stopped 38 shots.
— E-mail: dstillwell