Hurricane girls advance to title game
BECKLEY — After torching defenses all season long, Hurricane freshman Bailey Fisher made her formal introduction on the state stage Friday morning, and right when the Redskins needed her.
Fisher came up with a second-half hat trick, scoring on a free kick from 35 yards, a driving boot from 20 yards and a penalty kick, bringing Hurricane back from a 1-0 deficit and leading the Redskins to a 3-1 win over Hedgesville in a Class AAA girls soccer state tournament semifinal at the Paul Cline Memorial Sports Complex.
Hurricane advanced to play Wheeling Park in the big-school championship game at 10:30
a.m. Saturday. Wheeling Park defeated George Washington 2-0 in the other AAA girls semifinal.
Hedgesville controlled things for much of Friday’s semifinal, finally breaking through with a goal from Tal Roppolo with 29:40 remaining. But Fisher responded in the 62nd minute with a shot from deep tucked perfectly under the cross bar. It provided an instant spark for the Redskins.
“Bailey Fisher had an excellent game,” Hurricane coach Shelly Young said. “The game changer was getting that first free kick to go in and it’s like the girls relaxed and played their game. I’m hoping tomorrow they come out and play their game from the very first minute.”
“I always practice my free kicks,” Fisher said. “I knew I was struggling on them and I practiced on them every day.”
Hurricane (16-3-2) is making its first state tournament appearance since 2009, Young’s first year as Redskins coach.
The 1-1 tie had lasted around nine minutes when Bailey, driving to her right, uncorked a shot across her body from 20 yards out that once again found a perfect spot in the net, giving Hurricane a 2-1 lead with 9:01 left.
Fisher added a third goal on a penalty kick with 2:21 remaining after Hedgesville (12-4) was called for a handball in the box, capping a furious rally and an impressive offensive display from a ninth grader.
WHEELING PARK 2, GEORGE WASHINGTON 0: Sophomore Graceylyn Hanna snapped a scoreless tie in the 48th minute, taking a pass from Abby Barki and burying it low into the corner past George Washington goalie Katy Darnell to lead Wheeling Park (15-3-2) to its first state championship game since winning the title in 2001.
Freshman Mia Zecca added an insurance goal in the 74th minute, taking advantage of a GW miscue to secure Park’s spot in Saturday’s title game opposite Hurricane.
Wheeling Park goalie Deanna Crumm made six saves, surviving a scary moment at the end of the first half when she collided with GW’s Linsey Hackney, but remained in the game and posted her 12th shutout of the season.
Darnell made four saves for GW (15-5-3).
A GW player was given a red card following the game for attacking a Wheeling Park player.
The Wheeling Intelligencer contributed to this report.
ROBERT C. BYRD 3, WINFIELD 2: Ashton McKane scored her second goal of the game to complete a comeback from a 2-1 deficit as Robert C. Byrd (16-4-3) defeated Winfield (21-2-2) in a matchup of the last two Class AA-A state champions.
McKane opened scoring in the 16th minute, but Winfield got even through Savannah Hoff in the 35th minute and took the lead just after halftime on Peyton Frohnapfel’s strike.
RCB tied the score when Maddie Smith’s free kick in wet conditions went off of the goalkeeper’s fingertips in the 62nd minute and the Eagles kept it even when Gillian Weaver saved Ava Hall’s penalty kick in the 66th minute.
McKane’s winner came with 5:59 left in the game.
CHARLESTON CATHOLIC 3, OAK GLEN 2: Charleston Catholic forward Mills Mullen trotted off the field explaining to her coach (and mother) Amy Mullen that she didn’t feel the same as she did a year ago. After missing nearly an entire season and close to a calendar year with an injured knee, that is to be expected.
But one thing is for sure: Her shot and the Irish’s success in the state tournament don’t look any different at all.
Mullen buried a long shot with 9:11 remaining, providing Catholic enough cushion to survive a late Oak Glen goal, and the Irish picked up a 3-2 win in a Class AA-A girls semifinal at the state tournament Friday.
The striker is limited to short playing spurts, but her presence and experience on the field has added a whole new dynamic to the Catholic attack that was already plenty capable led by junior Lindsey Carr and freshman Bella Cinco.