HHS boys, girls get bounced
ONA — The Huntington High School boys and girls soccer teams ended their seasons Thursday in the Class AAA, Region IV championships.
Winfield scored a 1-0, double-overtime, victory over the Huntington High girls in the first half of a doubleheader on the Cabell Midland field.
Hurricane beat the Huntington High boys in a frenetic game, 2-1, with Redskins coach Jim Dagostine saying his team was on its heels even when they were winning.
Winfield and Hurricane earned state tournament berths Nov. 2-3 in Beckley.
“I don’t believe what I just saw,” Dagostine said. “What a competitive game. For one of these teams to have to go home just doesn’t seem right.
“I can’t say I want (HHS) to go (to state) instead of us, but I respect their team and what they’ve done.”
The Huntington High boys opened the scoring in the 21st minute when Jameson McCarthy sent a square cross to Kyle Miller, who beat Hurricane keeper Tim Hayslett low and to the right from about 18 yards out.
The Highlanders continued to keep the pressure on, but a slip up in their defensive end in the 31st minute allowed Hurricane’s Felipe Thompson to find the ball and hammer it past Hunter Smith to knot the game, 1-1.
Thompson struck again in the 53rd minute when Trevor Cunningham got the ball to the striker, who then volleyed it to himself with his back to the goal, wheeled around and pounded a shot into the net.
“Felipe Thompson knows what to do with that ball when he gets it,” Dagostine said. “He knows where it goes.”
The Highlanders got numerous attempts on goal throughout the rest of the match, including some mad scrambles inside the Hurricane penalty area, but couldn’t find the equalizer.
Afterward there were a lot of tears on the Huntington High bench.
“Our kids had the heart, the skill, the enthusiasm, the attitude; they played for each other tonight,” said Highlanders coach Sammy Boateng. “It’s sort of cliche, but this team put out all their heart, blood sweat and tears every single day of practice.
“They put so much in today and every single day of the season and that’s why it hurts so much.”
The Huntington High girls had been torched, 9-1, in their first regular season game by Winfield, so the Highlanders came out with a different strategy against the Generals in their second matchup.
Huntington High played a single player upfield — a rotation of freshman Jensyn Leonhart, sophomore Sarah Keith and junior Blue Cremeans — while keeping its veteran players back on defense.
The strategy, coach Paul Farrell said, was to keep Winfield’s speedy forwards frustrated, while trying to take advantage of a counter-attack or get the game to penalty kicks.
“It’s a good strategy, because it does frustrate you, and Huntington High doesn’t drop just to pack (the defensive half), they dropped because they’ve got the talent to do that,” Winfield coach Marshall Hoff said.
The counter-attack never materialized, but the game almost got to penalty kicks.
Huntington High didn’t fire a single shot in the game, while Winfield poured on the attack, but couldn’t score.
The game went through two, 10-minute overtime periods, then to the first of two, five-minute “golden goal” (sudden death) periods.
It was in the first golden goal period when Katie Bryant sent a shot in that was deflected but found Winfield foward Jayne Lawman. Lawman beat Huntington keeper Ericka Budd, who had been impervious all night, just to the right in the 104th minute to seal the win.
“Our coaches kept on encouraging us every time we came off the field to stay with it,” Lawman said. “All I remember is the ball came off one of our players or their players and I hit it with my left foot and it just missed the keeper.”
HUNTINGTON HIGH 0 0 0 0 — 0
WINFIELD 0 0 0 1 — 1
W — Lawman, 104th minute.
Shots: H 0, W 27. Saves: H 9 (Budd), W 0 (Faith Burchet). Corners: H 0, W 7.
HUNTINGTON HIGH 1 0 — 1
HURRICANE 1 1 — 2
HH — Kyle Miller (McCarthy) 21st minute.
HR — Thompson, 31st minute.
HR — Thompson (Cunningham) 53rd minute.
Shots: HH 19, HR 9. Saves: HH 2 (Hunter Smith), HR 9 (Hayslett). Corners: HH 4, HR 0.