Hurricane's Abby Watson (9) is covered by Sissonville's Alexa Adams (17) and Courtney Strobel.
HURRICANE, W.Va. - Two of the top teams in the state in their respective classifications duked it out Thursday night in a spirited girls soccer match and both came out feeling positive, yet not satisfied.Sissonville, No. 2 in Class AA, led most of the game against Class AAA No. 3 Hurricane, but settled for a 3-3 tie. A handball in the penalty box with 2:25 remaining led to Kayli Blackburn's tying goal, tucked in the upper-left corner past Indians goalkeeper Brook Reed.That's doesn't diminish Reed's performance, though. She saved 12 shots as the Redskins pushed much of the game, especially when they fell behind 3-1 early into the second half.Some of those saves were better than average."Very, very athletic goaltender," Hurricane coach Shelly Young said of Reed. "We tend to shoot a lot, so we do see a lot of good keepers, but she did a really good job, for sure."Abby Watson brought the game back to within a goal in the 59th minute, getting loose in the box, accepting an Audrey Barber feed and beating Reed. It was the 14th of 19 shots for the Redskins (14-1-1), against just five for Sissonville.But the Indians made the most of those shots, with Karli Pinkerton scoring twice and Taylor Rhodes curling in a sweet free kick over keeper Hannah Thompson.Pinkerton scored off a Mary Schmeck feed in the 18th minute, and Rhodes made it 2-0 with her bender in the 20th."Taylor's got a great leg, got a great shot," said Indians coach Ali Sadeghian. "I'm so proud of her - she knew what she was going to do, she know where she was going to shoot and she placed it perfectly."Barber made it 2-1 in the 35th minute, taking an Allison Clay kick, getting Reed committing in the wrong direction and firing it off the keeper's left foot.
At the half, the Redskins felt very confident."I was getting ready to walk in the locker room and say, 'Now, we've got to do that for 80 minutes,'" Young said. "I heard one of my defenders go, 'That was a good half. Now we've got to do that for 80 minutes.' I said, 'I don't even need to talk to you guys! You've got it all figured out.'"But Hurricane committed a mental mistake that turned into Pinkerton's 50th-minute goal. A defender was trying to wall off Pinkerton to allow Thompson to field the ball at the top left of the box, but a miscommunication led to a steal by Pinkerton, who fired into an empty net.The Redskins pushed hard the rest of the game and finally the Indians committed that handball to fall into a tie. Hurricane nearly seized the win outright in the last second - literally - when Watson chased a ball into the penalty box all alone. But Reed foiled Watson with exactly one second remaining."It's part of the game," Sadeghian said. "The call by the official is the same thing - they make a mistake, coaches make a mistake. It's part of the game. There's nothing wrong with that; you just have to move on."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5140, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.