By Bob Redd
For The Register-Herald
“It’s awesome to go upstate three out of the four years I have been here. It’s amazing to just think we came from three injuries at the beginning of the year and with such a young team we came out and showed the world what we could do. It’s just awesome.”
Those were the words of a jubilant Brooke Baker, a senior captain of the PikeView Panthers girls soccer team, after PikeView defeated Nicholas County 6-1 in the Region III championship game at East River Stadium to advance to the West Virginia Class AA-A girls state soccer tournament. PikeView will meet either Grafton or Bridgeport next Friday around 11:30 a.m. at the YMCA Soccer Complex in Beckley.
PikeView controlled the tempo from the onset and Lexy O’Dell scored the game’s first goal in the 16th minute. Less than three minutes later O’Dell followed with another goal on an assist from Emily Nelson.
PikeView made it 3-0 in the 29th minute on Baker’s long goal from the top of the box that went over the outstretched reach of Grizzlies’ keeper Allison Givens.
O’Dell scored the hat trick before the half closed to make it 4-0.
After the break, O’Dell got her fourth goal of the night, a header off a corner kick by Baker. PikeView rounded out its scoring on a goal by Sophie Klein with an assist from Kari Shrewsbury.
Nicholas County got on the board in the 37th minute of the second half on a penalty kick by Makenzie Martin.
Klein, a sophomore, finished with four goals, while Shyann Carr, Nelson, Baker and Shrewsbury added assists. Baker and Klein also scored for the Panthers.
“Her (Klein’s) play is kind of what led us through the second part of the year,” said PikeView coach Sam Hill. “She’s got the belief in herself that she can be very successful at this level.
“Technically, she is very gifted and she can do that on a game-by-game basis. She’s got that confidence in herself and that means a lot to us because our biggest challenge early on was scoring goals. Defensively we’ve been solid all year, but scoring goals has been a challenge for us.”
PikeView returns to the state tournament for the second consecutive year and for the fourth time in the last five seasons.
Hill said, “We’re excited to death. When our season started, we thought we’d have a pretty good team. We had a handful of injuries we had to work ourselves through, but we’ve been playing awfully well the last five or six games. To be peaking at this time of year, putting the pieces of the puzzle together, just feels awfully good.”
PikeView carries a record of 15-5-1 into the final four next weekend.
Nicholas County finished its season with a 10-10-2 record and coach Jennifer Gatewood termed her young team’s season a hardworking success.
“They worked really hard,” Gatewood said. “They’ve come a long way. We’re very young. We had no seniors, so they’ll all be back and hopefully we learned something and next year we’ll go farther. It’s been a good learning experience.”
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