Charleston Catholic's Hannah George (center) goes for the ball between Poca's Marissa Perkins (9) and Paige Reams.
Charleston Catholic really wasn't seeking revenge against Poca for the Dots' upset of the Irish in last year's girls soccer sectional. For one thing, a lot of today's Irish players weren't involved last year.They were in middle school.Freshmen accounted for 11 goals Wednesday night in Catholic's 12-2 rout of the Dots at The Fields at Trace Fork. Speedy Catherine Dundervill led the way with four goals, with Payton Mullen, Sophie Bumgarner and Peyton Keener scoring twice. Sarah Fox added one, and Hannah George scored one for the senior class.The young Irish (14-5-2) captured the Class AA-A Region 4 Section 2 championship and will play for the region championship at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Ripley High against the Section 1 champ, either Sissonville or Herbert Hoover.
"It has been a nice combination with our veterans, with our freshmen," said Catholic coach Amy Mullen. "It has been favorable to our games."The Dots put up a good challenge in the first 20 minutes, tying the game at 1 on a Harley Hutchins goal off a rebound in the 11th minute. Dundervill, who shook off a rash of early offsides infractions, had opened the scoring off a strong run.In the 23rd minute, the Irish took the lead on a Payton Mullen penalty kick. Three minutes later Bumgarner sneaked a lob shot over Poca goalkeeper Autumn Williams to make it 3-1.Then the floodgates blew open. Payton Mullen in the 30th minute, Keener in the 32nd, Dundervill in the 33rd, Keener in the 34th, and Dundervill and Fox in the 38th, Fox on a penalty kick to provide a 9-2 halftime lead. Poca scored in the 35th minute on a Marissa Perkins penalty kick.Catholic outshot Poca 24-8, with Williams recording eight saves to two for Catholic keeper Annie Crockett. The Dots finished 10-11-2."After last year, we had that great year, we lost six starters," said Poca coach Mike Shrewsbury. "We were starting freshmen, starting a couple of girls who never really played soccer, and I think you saw the difference out there. They had 11 athletes who were skilled; we probably had about half the team who were skilled."They could make passes up and down the field; if we make three touches, we've done well."Coach Mullen, keeping last year's result in mind, made sure her team kept focus."Poca has always been a good competitor," she said. "They come out, they never stop, they play to the very end. It took me awhile before I took out my starters because they were still fighting. The score didn't show what the game was."Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsmock@ wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.