1109-aaa girls soccer

Morgantown’s Alyssa Weaver, left, and Hurricane’s Jenna Holmes fight for the ball during a West Virginia high school Class AAA girls soccer state tournament game Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Beckley, W.Va.

BECKLEY — Few teams figured out ways to score on Hurricane’s girls soccer team in the 2019 season.

When it counted, though, Morgantown proved to be a team that had the Redskins’ number.

After defending champion Hurricane rallied in the second half, Morgantown’s Anne Williams put away a rebound with less than 10 minutes left to push the Mohigans into the Class AAA girls soccer championship with a 2-1 win over the Redskins on Friday evening at Paul Cline Memorial Sports Complex.

“We are used to getting balls behind the defense, so this game was tough,” Morgantown coach Stirlin Rivers said. “The kids had to adapt to what was being given to us. The keeper came out and got a piece, but Anne was right there to put it away.”

The loss ends Hurricane’s season at 19-3-1 with two of the losses coming against the Mohigans. In all, Hurricane allowed seven goals on the season — five of which came by the feet of Morgantown.

Williams’ goal capped an action-packed second half in which Hurricane was the aggressor for much of it. Rivers said the midfield trio of Williams, Alyssa Weaver and Sammy Brown kept their poise and produced the game-winner.

Hurricane coach Shelly Young said Morgantown’s ability to possess the ball played huge in the outcome.

“They are the most skilled team we’ve played against,” Young said. “Their possession is very good. We are used to being able to control possession against most teams and that took us a while. We had to figure out as a team what we could do to be effective.”

As the game moved into the second half with the Mohigans protecting a 1-0 lead, the Redskins continually mounted pressure forward — led by Danielle Ray — hoping to wear Morgantown’s defense down.

“We always try to go out strong in the second half because when you’re the first to score in the second half, it gets you hyped up,” Ray said.

That pressure paid off in the 65th minute when Hurricane’s Madyson Lunsford was able to force a turnover before placing a 20-yard shot into the right corner over the outstretched arms of Morgantown goalkeeper Jessica Jones to knot the match.

“My teammates always talk to me when I’m on the field,” Lunsford said. “I’m much more accurate inside the box, so I wasn’t sure, but they all told me to shoot and it ended up in the back of the net.”

It was part of a comeback effort that had spanned nearly the entire match after the Mohigans took a lead almost as soon as play started.

Morgantown grabbed the advantage on its first chance of the match when Sammie Brown headed home a corner kick from Michaela August to give the Mohigans a 1-0 lead just seven minutes in.

The momentum continued throughout the first half with the Mohigans getting several runs through the center of the field, which led to shots. However, Hurricane’s Olivia Bird was up to the task early, collecting four of her seven saves in the opening 45 minutes to keep the Redskins within striking distance.

“I think the defense did a good job getting back and we were keeping them aware of where we need to be,” Bird said.

Hurricane played without Bailey Fisher, the talented sophomore who scored 66 goals this season and was nearly two-thirds of the team’s offensive production leading up to the state tournament. Fisher tore her ACL in the regional final win over Parkersburg South. Fisher’s absence was felt early as the Redskins struggled to move forward against the Mohigans’ defense.

Prior to the contest, Hurricane coach Shelly Young was honored as the National Federation of High School Coaches Association Girls Soccer Coach of the Year.

MORGANTOWN 1 1—2

HURRICANE 0 1—1

M — Sammie Brown (Michaela August assist), 7th minute

H — Madyson Lunsford (unassisted), 65th minute

M — Anne Williams (unassisted), 85th minute

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