The Mountain State Athletic Conference boys and girls soccer championships are set to take place on Thursday.
No. 1 seed Hurricane will host No. 2 George Washington at 5 p.m. for the MSAC girls championship. The Redskins and Patriots faced each other once during the regular season, playing to a 1-1 draw on Sept. 21 at GW.
“At that point in the season we hadn’t played a team that was able to dominate possession yet like we were dominating possession against every opponent,” Hurricane coach Shelly Young said. “The possession in that game was more 50-50. They were able to put a lot of pressure on our defense and expose what our weaknesses were, which was absolutely what we needed.
“I’m looking forward to being able to play them again and see if the changes we made are gonna pan out. They’re a really quality side. They’ve got a solid 11 players out there and they play good soccer.”
Hurricane (12-0-1, 6-0-1 MSAC) has a dangerous offensive threat in junior Lauren Dye, who leads the Kanawha Valley with 25 goals. She also has nine assists.
GW (12-1-2, 6-0-1 MSAC) has several offensive threats, including senior Bella Cinco (15 goals, 15 assists), junior Ava Tretheway (14 goals, 12 assists), senior Angelina Musilli (14 goals, eight assists), senior Linsey Hackney (12 goals, 11 assists) and freshman Reese Huffman (12 goals, five assists).
Patriot junior goalkeeper Madison Adkins has a Valley-leading 10 shutouts while Hurricane junior goalkeeper Maddie Willis has eight assists.
In MSAC girls place-winner games Thursday, No. 4 Parkersburg hits the road to face No. 3 Cabell Midland at 7 p.m., No. 6 Capital travels to No. 5 Huntington at 5 p.m., No. 7 South Charleston hosts No. 8 Spring Valley at 7 p.m. and No. 9 St. Albans hosts No. 10 Riverside at 7 p.m.
On the boys side, No. 2 seed Parkersburg travels to No. 1 George Washington for a 7 p.m. matchup to decide the MSAC champion.
The Patriots’ (12-1-1, 8-1-0 MSAC) and Big Reds (12-1-2, 6-1-2 MSAC) played to a 3-3 draw on Sept. 25 at Parkersburg.
“We feel pretty good about the fact that we made it to the conference championship,” GW coach Erik Engle said.
“It certainly was a goal of ours. Overall, it’s another game we have to play against a team we’ve already played. We’ll just go out there and do what we’re supposed to do again.
“Obviously Parkersburg has been a pretty big opponent of GW’s for a long time. I look forward to playing them at home as opposed to away this time,” he said.
Engle said GW’s Tuesday game against Woodrow Wilson is the first time since the first game of the season that the Patriots have had a full roster.
GW is led by senior Nick Ihnat, who has 23 goals — tied for fifth most in the Kanawha Valley — and eight assists.
“[Scoring goals] is not all Nick does, but it’s what people see,” Engle said. “He’s fantastic defensively. He’s the vocal leader of our team. He bring the boys in to talk about what they need to do.
Junior Jack Williams has the second-most goals on the team with 13. Junior Rylan Morehead leads the team in assists with 13.
Engle said he has a very balanced team and goal scoring is just part of what makes it strong.
“We have fantastic defenders in the back line, we have midfielders who I think are some of the best soccer players in the state,” Engle said. “It’s just a very balanced team.”
GW sophomore goalkeeper Dawson Lunsford has four clean sheets this season.
There are four other MSAC boys matchups on Thursday. Twenty minutes after the conclusion of the GW-Hurricane girls game, No. 3 Hurricane is set to host No. 4 Cabell Midland. At 7 p.m., No. 5 Capital will host No. 6 South Charleston. Twenty minutes after the conclusion of the Capital-Huntington girls game, No. 7 Huntington will host No. 8 Spring Valley. Also, No. 10 Riverside travels to face No. 9 St. Albans at 7 p.m.