Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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November 6, 2012

Weather forced soccer tournament to 'Plan B'

CHARLESTON — Last week’s extraordinary weather affected sports in unexpected ways. The West Virginia state soccer tournament was among events to be changed.

The Class AAA and Class AA-A semifinals and finals, originally slotted for Nov. 2-3 in Beckley, are taking place today and Wednesday at Schoenbaum Soccer Stadium in Coonskin Park for the big-school class, and the Trace Fork Soccer Complex along Corridor G for the combined Class AA and A teams.

This is the first time more than one competitive class will be held in Charleston.

The West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission (WVSSAC) announced that while they “regret the cancellation in Beckley,” they are looking forward to the competition in Charleston.

“Everyone in Charleston has really stepped up to the plate in an effort to make this happen,” said Gary Ray, executive director of the WVSSAC. “It’s going to be a great experience for all the kids and parents involved.”

The Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau and WVSSAC officials went into a flurry of activity to firm up the arrangements.

“This tournament will have an estimated economic impact of nearly $70,000,”said CVB President/CEO Alisa Bailey. “If you add this amount to the group’s other annual competitions, WCVSSAC has an estimated $13.5 million economic impact on Charleston.”

PikeView soccer coach Sam Hill, whose girls team plays today, said, “I respect their decision. It’d have been hard to get the fields (in Beckley) playable.

“The biggest thing, you could have played one, maybe two games on them, but by the time you played that fourth game on Tuesday, the field would have been difficult to play on, for sure.”

The delay of almost a week will mean for PikeView, “It’s going to be two full weeks since we’ve played a game, and obviously you don’t want to go that long, normally, without completing,” Hill said.

“Fortunately, we’re not carrying too many injuries, so really we didn’t need the time to heal up.”

Last Wednesday, he said, “I think the biggest challenge we have is making sure we stay sharp.”

The winter-like weather early last week wiped out practice on Tuesday, and the team had to work out indoors in the school gym on Monday and Wednesday.

Once they returned to the outdoors, Hill said, “We’re just trying to get that game speed (back), that feel of playing at that pace that’s going to be necessary for us to be successful.”

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