HHS, SV to meet in girls' sectional final
SPRING VALLEY -- Huntington High and Spring Valley will play for the MSAC girls' sectional title Thursday after eliminating Lincoln County and Cabell Midland, respectively, in the first round of play Tuesday.
The last time the two teams met was Sept. 10 at Spring Valley, when the Highlanders took the win over the Timberwolves, 4-1.
Spring Valley coach Todd Smith said he's looking forward to taking on the Highlanders again in the sectional final Thursday.
"We're going to have to play a very tight game and key on their players," Smith said. "But we've got to play our game, too. We can't just let them dictate to us how the game goes."
Highlanders coach Paul Farrell knows that his squad will be facing a much-improved Spring Valley team, and will be doing so without senior captain Kelsie Burns, who has been sidelined for the rest of the season with an ankle injury.
"It's not going to be the same matchup it was back in September," Farrell said. "Both teams have changed, and gotten better, but in different respects. I don't think the results from September can tell you anything about what's going to happen Thursday at Cabell Midland.
"The game is going to be on FieldTurf, so I think it's going to be a faster game with a lot of scoring. I look forward to playing them again, although I don't consider it a rematch because I'm fielding a much different team from back then, and they've gotten a lot better since then."
Spring Valley got past the Knights, 3-0, in the first game of the evening Tuesday.
The Timberwolves got off to a tentative start, with a lot of good ideas but a bit of a lack of execution.
That didn't stop senior Emily Rhodes from finding the back of the net in the eighth minute after the ball took a deflection off of Midland keeper Jess Meade.
After that, the game settled into a bit of a stalemate, though the Timberwolves were getting more chances and pushing into offensive space more than the Knights.
The turning point in the contest came in a strange sequence of events in the final seconds of the first half.
Becca Spencer sent a lob over Meade's head, and Meade retreated and seemed to toss the ball out of the net to keep it from crossing the goal line. Play continued, but eventually the officials blew play dead with one second on the clock.
Midland thought they were going into half down 1-0, but the referees conferred and determined that Meade was across the goal line when she threw the ball out, and that Spencer had scored a goal. They then put nine seconds back on the clock.
Knights' coach Andy Wilson was furious over the call, and voiced his opposition, as both teams rushed players back on the field to finish the last nine seconds of the half. Midland was now down 2-0.
Cabell Midland managed some pressure in the second half, but the majority of possession was controlled by the Timberwolves, and Rhodes added the final tally in the 71st minute.
"It was a sectional game, there's going to be nerves, and you could see it on both sides," Spring Valley coach Todd Smith said. "Eventually, they settled down. They're kids, sometimes you have to talk to them and get them to do the right things.
"I would like to have seen a few more goals, but a win, I'll take it. I'm proud of our kids. They knew what was at stake here and they came out and played hard."
The night game couldn't have been more different. Huntington High nearly scored a goal for every player Lincoln County had dressed, in a 12-0 victory where coach Paul Farrell had pulled most of his starters by the 30th minute, and had instructed his players not to shoot after Tory Shackelford managed a hat trick within three minutes before half time.
Farrell had players dropping to midfield and passing several times before anyone could take a shot on goal in the second half.
Lincoln County managed one shot in the contest.
"You have to respect the Lincoln County girls, who are still building a program and came out here and played very hard," Farrell said. "What we did today, we came out, we knew we had them overmatched, but that was secondary to the idea that we have to get better everyday.
"Because, just like today, we fielded the stronger team, it's going to be not very long before we run into teams that have us overmatched. So, the lesson is, there's always someone bigger, better and stronger out there, and everyday you have to make yourself a little bit better, make your teammate a little better and make your team a little bit better."
CABELL MIDLAND 0 0 -- 0
SPRING VALLEY 2 1 -- 3
SV -- Rhodes, 8th minute.
SV -- Spencer, 40th minute.
SV -- Rhodes (Lauren Fuller) 71st minute.
Shots: CM 5 (4 on net), SV 23 (12 on net). Saves: CM 9 (Meade), SV 4 (Hannah Smith). Corners: CM 2, SV 4.
LINCOLN COUNTY 0 0 -- 0
HUNTINGTON HIGH 7 5 -- 12
H -- Summer Wheatley, 8th minute.
H -- Elizabeth Conaty, 13th minute.
H -- Wheatley (Isabella Chirico) 21st minute.
H -- Sydney Jacobson, 26th minute.
H -- Shackelford, 31st minute.
H -- Shackelford, 32nd minute.
H -- Shackelford, 34th minute.
H -- Kate O'Donnell, 47th minute.
H -- Kate Colclough, 56th minute.
H -- Blue Cremeans, 62nd minute.
H -- Morgan Hensley, 70th minute.
H -- Megan McCallister, 75th minute.
Shots: LC 1 (1 on net), H 38 (29 on net). Saves: LC 17 (Renee Booker, Krista Smith), H 1 (Ericka Budd). Corners: LC 0, H 8.