CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A lot will be on the line today for several Kanawha Valley schools when the Class AA-A soccer regionals are played.Charleston Catholic and Sissonville will renew their regional rivalry today in the girls division while the Fighting Irish boys are seeking their sixth straight trip to the state tournament and fifth championship in a row, with Parkersburg Catholic standing in the way.Sissonville (19-0-3), which finished the regular season No. 1 in the final state coaches association girls rankings, will take on No. 2 Catholic (19-1-2) at 5 p.m. today in the Region 4 final on the turf at Ripley High School.Four-time defending state champion Catholic (14-3-3), which finished No. 1 in the final boys state rankings, will take on No. 7 Parkersburg Catholic (18-6) at approximately 7 p.m. in the regional championship. (See Page 2B for pairings and schedule.)
Catholic's and Sissonville's girls didn't meet during the regular season, but they're more than familiar with each other.The Fighting Irish, who fielded a freshman-laden squad, upset an experienced Sissonville bunch 2-1 on penalty kicks in last year's regional. The squads have met three other times in the region finals since 2008 with Catholic winning all three, including a three-overtime victory and an OT win."I don't think it can get any scarier than playing Sissonville on Halloween,'' said Catholic coach Amy Mullen. "Sissonville is strong and tough. I think that's a pretty scary recipe.
"I really feel like we're ready to play them. Our true grit will be tested. It's going to be a big challenge. We're a year older and a little more mature. We know what it takes.''The matchup will feature some of the top goal scorers in the Kanawha Valley.Catholic features sophomores Caroline Dundervill, who has netted a Valley-high 41 goals, Peyton Keener (23), Sophie Bumgarner (19) and Payton Mullen (14).The Indians boast the best scoring tandem in sophomores Madison Jones and Karli Pinkerton, who have turned in 37 goals apiece. Senior Mary Schmeck has added 15 goals and junior Taylor Rhodes has chipped in 11. Sissonville sophomore Brooke Reed is one of the most athletic goalies in the state.
"We're ready to go,'' said Sissonville coach Ali Sadeghian, whose squad is the only undefeated girls team left in Class AA-A. "We have to do everything right. And one thing we haven't had in the past, we have to have some luck. Hopefully get a lucky bounce.''Catholic, the four-time defending state champion in the boys division, has looked vulnerable at times this season.The Irish saw their 64-match unbeaten streak end. In addition, Catholic suffered three losses, including back-to-back defeats, which hadn't occurred since 2008.Catholic, though, ripped through its section fairly easily by a combined 9-1 score, which is quite impressive considering the tournament included No. 18 St. Joseph and No. 6 Sissonville. The Irish dispatched Sissonville 4-1 in the section championship game and were never really tested.
Sophomore Joey Trupo leads the way for Catholic with 31 goals, which is tied for second-best in the Valley. Irish junior Roger Burdette (12 goals) and sophomore Anthony Cipollone (10) are also capable offensive threats.Catholic defeated Parkersburg Catholic 2-0 in the Bishop's Cup title game, a tournament for the state's Catholic schools, during the regular season. Trupo tallied both goals for the Irish."My team was not playing at its best at that time,'' said Catholic first-year coach Domenic Cipollone. "I don't think they were a team when we first started. I think mentally they've jelled together. I think they're giving it their best when they go out there.''Parkersburg Catholic captured its first sectional championship by coming from behind for a 3-2 overtime win against Williamstown.The Crusaders trailed 2-0 with 13:46 left in the game before tying it up on goals from Brady Kurucz and Brian Shin. Parkersburg Catholic then won it on Pete Keiser's tally with about two minutes to go in a 10-minute sudden death.Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at email@example.com or 304-348-4811.