Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

October 15, 2013

Injuries don’t stop Walls from Senior Night win

PRINCETON — Since the last time Shaylah Walls took the field in a Princeton Senior High Soccer game, the senior has added something to her game — a plate and six screws in the fibula of her left leg, the result of a break months ago.

On Senior Night, Tuesday on her home turf at Everette K. Bailey Field, she returned to the pitch, and nailed one of the many goals that her team put on the board against Oak Hill.

 More specifically, the Tigers defeated the Red Devils 8-0 in Princeton’s final regular-season game.

 Walls said, “Even though I’m not 100 percent, it felt good to be back, especially on Senior Night. It felt great.”

 Two of the seniors were walking wounded. Ashley Culicerto, who has a torn ACL in her left knee, was also in the starting lineup, and took the opening kick. In what appeared to be a pre-determined move, she booted the ball out of bounds and was immediately subbed out.

Tori Billips, another senior, played a fine, energetic game as usual, and goalkeeper Meredith Putorek, who also had to fight injury this fall, had to make only one save before taking the field on the attack in the second half. She had four scoring chances with the ball but was swarmed by Oak Hill defenders each time.

All four were honored at halftime.

 Head coach Michelle Dye said about the injuries to her seniors, “It’s been a tough season.”

She added, “For Shaylah to come back, that’s huge. Just to have her on the field, I think her presence just boosted the team’s morale. I think that changed everyone. They were all excited, once they found out.”

With one minute gone in the match, Princeton took its first shot. Junior Amanda Barrett’s arcing shot from 25 yards out found the opposite side of the net. Barrett assisted Billips on the second score, a header in front of the goal less than three minutes later.

Billips had a hat trick before halftime, scoring the next two goals for a 4-0 lead at intermission.

Early in the second period, Walls took a cross from Barrett, got off a shot which goalkeeper Brianna Ovalle knocked down, and then drove the rebound into the left side of the goal.

Madi Boggess’ steal of an Oak Hill possession led to Barrett’s second goal, as she forced the defense to commit and then pounded the ball into the right side.

Substitutes got playing time for Princeton late in the match. Krystina Rose crossed a winner to Sarah Cole for the next score, and Kristin Bales gathered a rebound and put it home with 9:38 left for the final goal.

Dye said, “I was pleased. We really wanted to work on possessing the ball, and passing, and controlling the game. That’s what they did. That was our main goal tonight.”

Princeton wound up with 31 shots, 18 on goal, and took six corner kicks to the Red Devils’ one. Ovalle made 12 saves for Oak Hill.

Walls said about returning to the team, “We don’t want to have to separate. We’ve all been playing together, and we all work together as a combo.” She said about her leg, “It’s just stiff, where I’ve not been running. But I’ll definitely get back. Definitely.”

Asked about Senior Night, she said, “It’s going to be one to remember, for sure.”

The next match for Princeton will again be on their home field, in sectional play next Tuesday. The Tigers will take on the winner of Monday’s match between Oak Hill and Shady Spring.

 — Contact Tom Bone


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