EAST RIVER —
Call it a five-peat.
All the one-hour lightning delay did was delay the inevitable, which was a fifth straight Region 3, Section 2 championship for PikeView in a 9-0 rout of Bluefield on a rainy, sometimes miserable Thursday evening at East River Soccer Complex.
“It’s always fun,” PikeView senior Laura Hill said. “It feels great honestly, to go out and be the best in your section for five years in a row.”
Hill had a lot to do with it, scoring four goals to extending her unofficial state record goals scored tally to 57, as the Panthers advanced to play Pocahontas County on Tuesday at Nicholas County High School with the winner advancing to the Class AA/A state tournament on Nov. 2 in Beckley.
While Hill’s father, PikeView head coach Sam Hill, was glad to see the goals scored by his daughter, he was just as pleased to see a balanced scoring attack from the start.
Hill has 57 goals, which is five more than the 52 scored last year by PikeView’s Hope Nester, who has been out this season with a knee injury.
“A couple of things I was tickled about statistically was the first five goals were scored by five different players,” Sam Hill said. “Laura has been scoring a lot of our goals recently. I don’t know if that was a focus on our part because of where she was at in terms of milestones, but it was good to see the distribution and the quality of the play.
“We kept the quality high for the entire game, it didn’t matter which 11 I had on the field so those are the two things I was excited about, especially looking forward to next Tuesday and expecting a very strong opponent then.”
PikeView (15-4-2) scored less than two minutes into the game on a goal by Brooke Baker. That was followed by goals from Courtney Gray and Charlotte Webster for a 3-0 lead when lightning struck, forcing a delay with 23 minutes remaining in the half that wound up being nearly an hour long.
“Especially when you have an hour wait between everything, but I am just glad the girls had fun,” said Bluefield coach Kristin Perry, of playing the conditions that included downpours even after the play continued.
Bluefield, which won its first game of the season in the sectional opener against Wyoming East, never threatened to score, while goalkeeper Tyra Jackson was kept busy with repeated shots at goal by the Panthers, and she did have several saves for the Beavers.
“Tyra is very, very positive, very uplifting, she is one of my captains and she works hard,” Perry said.
“She stays after almost every practice to work on something no matter how cold it is or the conditions, she is very much a leader, I am proud of her.”
PikeView continued where it left off after the delay with goals by Hill, Madison May and again by Hill, making it 6-0 at halftime.
“We started off a little bit rough, but actually came out from the delay, and we picked up our game,” said Laura Hill, whose father was pleased to see the Panthers come out with focus and intensity against the Beavers, who PikeView defeated 12-0 and 11-1 during the regular season. “We started playing really well and we had great possession and we played quality soccer.”
The Panthers added three more goals in the second half, including two by Hill and one from May.
“PikeView is very relentless, very talented team,” said Perry, who didn’t begin coaching the Beavers until a month into the season. “They have had more luck this year with injuries I would say and we have been down to eight players several times so that has made it a little bit difficult.
“We didn’t win any games the entire season, but we won the first round in sectionals so I was very proud. I feel like next year we will have a much better organization and it will be better next year.”
The season continues for PikeView, which will seek its third regional title in the last four years, not bad considering the Panthers had significant losses to graduation and then lost Nester to injury.
“The year started out with Hope getting hurt, and we really didn’t know where we were going to be with the other seniors that we lost,” Sam Hill said. “We haven’t been perfect all year, we have had a couple of very disappointing results, but we have played some pretty good soccer at times too.
“We like our chances next Tuesday and we like our chances if we are fortunate to get the result there, we like our chances in the (state) semis too.”
—Contact Brian Woodson
EAST RIVER —
Call it a five-peat.
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