PikeView has no Hope and no (Laura) Hill.
What they do have is potential, and plenty of room to grow.
“I think we have a lot of potential, but we have a lot of growing to do,” PikeView girls soccer coach Sam Hill. “We still don’t have that player that wants to take charge and is determined to get the ball in the back of the net.”
PikeView (2-3), which has played five matches decided by a combined nine goals, got one apiece from Courtney Gray, Shyann Carr and Emilee Nelson on Thursday night as the Panthers connected the Dots in a 3-0 win over Poca (1-6).
Scoring hasn’t been a problem in recent years for the Panthers, but it has been so far this season, for good reason.
Hope Nester set an unofficial state scoring record as a sophomore before missing last season — and will now miss this year — with a knee injury, and Laura Hill, who broke that mark last year, is now playing at West Virginia Wesleyan.
In addition, Madison May, who was expected to join Nester as a top scorer for the Panthers is also out for the season.
“Last year we had Laura, the year before that we had Hope,” Hill said. “Hope is not going to be able to play this year, it looks like she is going to have surgery on Monday on that knee.
“We have got to understand we can’t sit back and wait for her to come back because she is not coming now.”
Finding scorers is the task ahead for PikeView, which has been in every game, with its three losses coming by scores of 2-1, 2-0 and 1-0. Two of those came in a season-opening weekend series with Robert C. Byrd and Fairmont Senior, with the other being against Herbert Hoover.
“Two of those three games were one-goal games that we were in until the very end,” Hill said. “Certainly the record could be a little different with a little better finish.”
PikeView had plenty of chances to score in this one, bombarding Poca keeper Kendal Sayre with soccer balls, but she was able to stop all but three shots from reaching the back of the net.
“We would have (liked to have scored more), especially the first half,” Hill said. “I thought we did a nice job with our possessions, we got our two outside backs forward, which gave us a numbers advantage and we did a nice job of moving the ball around.
“The negative part is putting the ball in the back of the net. I don’t think we played with that sense of urgency once the ball got into a scoring area to put the ball in the back of the net. I think we almost played with the attitude ‘Oh well, we will get another chance next time’ and it was a little bit frustrating.”
The Panthers had 24 shots attempts, although not all of those were on goal in the opening half, while the Dots had just one, which resulted in one of two saves by PikeView keeper Kristen Brinkley.
PikeView was able to keep the ball on offense for nearly the entire first half, led by Kari Shrewsbury, Sophie Klein, Crysta Meekins and Kassie Catron, among others. Alexis O’Dell and Brooke Baker each had assists for PikeView.
“Luckily we have got depth,” Hill said. “It is just a matter of us figuring out who needs to be where and who is going to do the dirty work and put the ball in the back of the net.”
It was a corner kick by Baker that was deflected into the net by Gray that put the Panthers up 1-0 just nine minutes into the game. Baker is one of four seniors developing into a leader for PikeView.
“Brooke is our leader, she has taken that role on, she wants to be the leader, and she makes the commitment, not only in terms of what she says, but in how she plays,” Hill said. “She wants to do everything she can to carry this team and for us to be successful, she has done well for us, I have been pleased with her leadership.”
It remained at 1-0 until early in the second half when the Dots switched alignments, pushing defenders upfield to give themselves more chances with the ball, and leaving a little more space for Sayre to cover.
“The keeper was very good and they are well coached, that was a pretty good adjustment on their part in the second half, it changed the dynamic of the game,” Hill said. “Instead of them sitting as deep as they were, they went ahead and took the chance and push the numbers forward and it worked for their benefit.
“They had a lot more of the possession in the second half than they did in the first half...”
That did provide more space for PikeView to work the ball, and O’Dell took advantage less than a minute into the second half with a nifty pass that was deflected into the net by Carr.
Nelson finished the scoring 15 minutes later by dribbling the ball half the length of the field and the freshman kicked it past Sayre for the goal.
“Emilee had that space to dribble all the way down and it just a matter of being disciplined and not being caught off sides, which we were a couple of times,” Hill said.
Up next for PikeView — which reached the Class AA state tournament last season — is a Saturday visit to Braxton County.
“To get a result, they were a challenge to play against,” said Hill, of the win over the Dots. “They had numbers back, but we ended up getting the results so I can’t complain too much.”
— Contact Brian Woodson at firstname.lastname@example.org
PikeView has no Hope and no (Laura) Hill.
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