Capital's Emilee Henry and Parkersburg's Dani McCay fight for the ball.
Capital typically saves its best for last and the Cougars seem to be trending that way this season, too.Freshman midfielder Taylor Hunkele scored a goal off an assist from freshman midfielder Halie Hill early in the opening half and that was all Parkersburg could muster against host Capital for a 1-0 victory Saturday on the Cougars' Senior Day.A crowd of about 70 attended the Class AAA matchup of state-ranked girls high school soccer teams at the Alex Schoenbaum Family Foundation Fields at Capital High School.The Cougars (7-8), who were No. 14 in this week's state coaches association rankings, have held their own against some strong opponents but are still seeking consistency with only a few weeks left before the postseason begins. Capital upset top-ranked George Washington in last year's sectional tournament."I think we have better potential, but we're just not executing,'' said Cougars senior keeper Michelle Newhouse, who turned in four saves to keep her team in the game to the end. "We're getting there. It's just going to take more work. We usually peak during sectionals. It worked out well for us last year beating G-dub.''Cougars coach Riley Gibson said the addition of a couple of injured players in the next week or so should make a difference in close games."We tend to play one good [half] and one bad one,'' said Gibson, who has seen his squad drop three games by 1-0 scores and another 2-1. "We let one get in and . . . it just kills us. We can't lose the 50-50 balls and expect to win. Our girls have to eventually find it in themselves that they want to win.
"Right now they're not showing the heart. I've got one of my starters coming back in a week or two and hopefully we can make some adjustments and go at them. We get everybody back [and] we'll see what kind of run we can make.''Hunkele received a pass from Hill and dribbled in on Newhouse and put the ball past the all-state keeper. Newhouse turned in diving stops on two one-on-one situations as the Cougars managed just two shots on goal themselves. Big Reds junior Taylor Beckley stopped both shots."A freshman against an all-state keeper, I thought she placed the ball really well,'' said Parkersburg coach Kristen Schreiber of Hunkele's tally. She put it in the back of the net and that's all we needed to win. The defense bent a little bit, but they didn't break. Overall, we can't be too disappointed with that.''Schreiber was also using Saturday's game as a measuring stick for her young squad. The No. 8 Big Reds (10-3-2) handed No. 3 Winfield its first lost of the year earlier in the week and she was hoping to see the same attitude carry over."I felt like we played a little bit down,'' she said. "We had a high on Tuesday and I don't feel like we had the same intensity, but we're a young team and the inconsistencies have been there all season."That's what we're trying to work towards is being more consistent and doing the little things better. We showed that at times. I think at one point I had six or seven freshmen on the field. We're almost done with this season and freshmen can't be freshmen anymore.''Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4811.