Herbert Hoover's Cassie Hammes (3) heads the ball away from Ravenswood's Georgie Fitzwater.
Nothing comes easy this time of year and Sissonville found that out Monday night.Freshman Karli Pinkerton scored on an assist from senior Cassidy Lewis about halfway through the second half and that was all the Indians' high-powered offense could generate in holding on for a 1-0 victory over St. Joseph in the Class AA-A Region 4 Section 1 girls high school soccer semifinals. A crowd of about 60 attended the matchup at Joe Eddie Cowley Field at Herbert Hoover High School in Falling Rock.Junior Melody Strickland netted a pair of second-half goals to lead Herbert Hoover past Ravenswood 4-0 in an earlier semifinal Monday.Sissonville (19-2), which finished the regular season No. 1 in the state coaches association rankings, will face No. 5 Hoover (13-5-2) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night at Joe Eddie Cowley Field in the section championship game. The Indians defeated the Huskies 6-0 in the teams' only regular-season meeting last week.The Indians have won 14 straight and scored six or more goals 11 times during the streak, including nine three times.Sissonville attempted 13 shots on goal Monday and several more that were either wide of the goal or that went over the net. Even Indians senior Lydia Murray, who set the career goal scoring record in the Kanawha Valley this season, missed on a breakaway early in the second half."From now on anything is possible,'' said Sissonville coach Ali Sadeghian. "It's a playoff and all it takes is one mistake. It can cost you a season. It won't be easy.
"The first half we were just impatient and forcing a lot of shots. The second half I just told them to relax and just take a shot and be patient. It will happen. All we needed was one goal. We played great. I can't complain about the girls. They didn't quit.''Pinkerton provided the clinching goal, chasing down a ball sent through the penalty box from Lewis and depositing it in the net."I just tried to go for it and score,'' said Pinkerton, who is Sissonville's third-leading scorer with 18 goals. "It was important. We just couldn't score. It's just one of those nights.''The Fighting Irish (5-13-3) elected to play defense most of the game with all of their players on the Indians' side of the field at times. St. Joseph never put a ball on goal and the closest it came was a direct kick from about 25 yards out that was wide left with about six minutes to go.
"Everybody on their team is a star player, but they have a few that stand out so we tried to put extra pressure on those couple of girls,'' said St. Joseph coach Dave Castle. "Our girls played with more intensity than they're known to play with. I'm more proud of them with this defeat than any of our wins this season.''St. Joseph junior keeper Rachel Lee turned aside nine shots to keep her team close.Hoover 4, Ravenswood 0Sophomore Cassie Hammes gave the Huskies all the confidence they would need with a goal on a setup from junior Leslie Taylor late in the opening half to put them ahead to stay at 1-0.
The floodgates opened after that as Hoover's Strickland tallied an unassisted goal early in the second half, then about halfway through added another score off an assist from Amber Williams for a 3-0 advantage. Taylor chipped in an unassisted goal to round out the scoring.The Huskies lost 3-2 to No. 16 Ravenswood (8-9-2) earlier in the season then played to a 2-2 draw last week."I think it helped everybody just get moving,'' said Hammes of her goal. "We were really struggling getting up. Everybody just took it from there and after that knew it was our game. We're playing tremendously. Everybody is working together.''Hoover goalie Bailey Aab made seven saves."It's all about effort and execution and they're executing on the field,'' said Huskies first-year coach Greg Aab, whose team is having its best season since girls soccer started at the school. "Every game they just keep getting better.''Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at email@example.com or 304-348-4811.