PARKERSBURG — With sectional alignment at stake, only one opponent stands between Parkersburg South and earning the top seed.
Tuesday night at Erickson All-Sports Facility, Ripley gave the Patriots its best shot before falling 5-3.
South, which had allowed more than one goal only once prior to the Ripley match, improved to 11-1-0 and travels to Hurricane on Saturday afternoon. A win over the Redskins leaves the Patriots 3-0 against sectional opponents.
“This match didn’t have the intensity I was hoping it would have,” South coach Ron Bucholtz said. “The girls knew coming into this game there was some significant meaning to this game. I fully expected the overall effort and play would have been more sharp.
“A win is a win, so you take what you can get. Hurricane is going to be a challenge on Saturday, and we have to play much sharper than we played today. We are playing well, but we have to play better.”
Adi Altizer and Addison White both scored two goals for South, while Erin Reisbeck’s net-finder for the final goal of the first half accounted for a fifth Patriot goal. Altizer converted an attempt on a penalty kick midway into the second half without a challenge.
Teammate Jozy Barton, meanwhile, was spot on as South attempted six corner kicks. Barton’s corner kick at the 18:32 mark of the first half appeared to have hit the inner position of the far post and trickle past the goal line. White was in the vicinity of the crease and credited with the goal. The two girls hooked up again for the first goal of the second half as Barton’s corner ricocheted off a Ripley defender and directly back to White.
With the Ripley keeper absent, all White needed to do was tap the ball into the back of the net.
For the match, South sent 12 shots on goal compared to four for Ripley.
“We executed free kicks very well. Their keeper made a lot of nice saves on free kicks. Moving (Addison White) into the mix on the corner kicks paid off,” Bucholtz added.
For Ripley (2-5-3), another possible trip to South may be in store for a Class AAA sectional semifinal. Playing their first match of the season on a grass surface, the Vikings traded goals with the Patriots in the first half and trailed 3-2 at intermission.
Cameron Limer’s free kick found the shoes of Addi Morrison for Ripley’s first goal, which tied the match at 1 at the 23:08 mark of the first half. Already down two injured starters, the Vikings forced another tie at 2 when Makayla Wriston made good on a penalty kick with 6:54 remaining before intermission.
Unfortunately for Ripley, South answered a short time later when Reisbeck took control of a loose ball deep in Viking territory and ripped a shot past the keeper for a 3-2 South lead with 6:18 showing on the clock.
South reached into its bench and gave backup keeper Kaitlyn McCartney several minutes of playing time. The only shot on goal she faced slipped from her grasp on an attempt from Sophie Jenkins with just less than two minutes remaining in regulation.
“Overall, we battled pretty hard even though we lost a couple of girls to injury — we don’t have a whole lot of depth,” Ripley coach Jay Pierson said. “We kept scrapping. They had set pieces for goals on us, which is a killer. Those are hard to defend. They have a girl who can kick the ball really, really hard.
“We played really well considering we are used to playing on turf. It’s a little harder playing on this high grass. That changes the dynamic a little bit, but South is a great team. They kept coming and kept playing hard.”
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