Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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October 29, 2013

One step from state

PikeView kicking for Region III crown

GARDNER — Playing for regional championships is nothing new for the PikeView High School soccer program. This, of course, is a different year by almost any definition, but the same script is playing out.

The Panthers boys and girls will take to the pitch this Thursday at East River Soccer Complex for the Class AA-A Region III title and a trip next week to the state “final four.”

The PikeView girls (14-5-1) take on Nicholas County (10-10-2) at 5 p.m., followed by the PikeView boys (17-4-1) playing Pocahontas County (13-3-1) at about 7 p.m.

Both of PikeView’s teams had a goals-allowed average of 1.11 in the regular season.

• • •

PikeView boys coach Bill Hopkins is in his first year heading up the boys’ program but he’s very familiar with the personnel.

Hopkins said, “I’ve been coaching some of these boys since they were 4 years old. I followed them up through travel league — we’ve traveled all year ... coached them in middle school for three years, assisted with Sam (Hill, who has remained as the girls’ coach) the last couple.”

“As my son moved up into ninth grade this year, and Sam’s daughter graduated, it’s kind of been our plan that I would take the boys’ side.”

“But we run the program together. I’m on the bench for the girls, as well as my assistant coach Corbett Calfee. Sam and Rod (Klein) are on the bench for the boys’ games. It’s really a joint program, and we want to keep it that way. It works really well.”

One of the program’s seniors, Alex Testerman said, “He’s done a great job coaching. He leads the team well.”

The Gardner-based squad has allowed just one goal in their past 12 games.

“We’re really proud of what they’ve done,” Hopkins said.

Seth Wood leads PikeView in two offensive categories, with 21 goals and 13 assists. Hunter Klein had recorded 16 goals and 10 assists.

“Those guys have been doing very well up top,” Hopkins said.

Pocahontas County has won their past seven straight matches and nine of their last 10. PikeView shut out the Warriors 4-0 in their regular-season meeting on Sept. 14.

“We sure think we’re playing better soccer today than we were then, but you know, they may be, also,” Hopkins said. “They’ve got a good record. They’ve had some quality wins. We’ve just got to play our game. We’ve got to be strong in the back, and possess the ball and play well up top.”

“They’ve got a couple of kids who can put the ball in the goal at any time, and they’re well coached. Mr. (Cully) McGurdy is a good fellow, and he knows the game. We’ve just got to play our game.”

PikeView senior Vaughn Campbell said, “It’s not going to be an easy game, but we definitely can get a result. ... I have confidence that we can do it.”

Testerman said about his teammates, “They know what they have to do for us to get the win.”

The PikeView boys have reached the state tournament once, in 2012.

• • •

Hill and his wife Angie, along with assistant Rod Klein, continue to direct the girls program.

The girls have not allowed a goal since Oct. 12. They swept through the sectionals last week, overwhelming Wyoming East 10-0 and beating Bluefield 5-0.

The Grizzlies from Nicholas County also posted postseason shutouts, beating James Monroe 2-0 and Pocahontas County 3-0 to claim their section of Region III. PikeView edged Nicholas County in their previous meeting on Sept. 28 in Summersville.

“We were lucky to get off of their field with a 1-0 win,” Sam Hill said. “They’re very athletic.” He talked about control in the midfield, where there are two quality starters, one of whom did not play in the first game.

“We know that our work’s going to be cut out for us, making sure we don’t give them anything easy. But they were also very organized, and (our success is contingent on) being able to break them down defensively and getting opportunities for ourselves.”

Hill agreed that the Grizzlies’ break-even record is deceptive. “If you look at the record as the season progressed, they were very, very competitive, with good results toward the end of the season as well,” he said. “They swept through their section ... and didn’t give up a goal.”

Senior co-captain Kassie Catron said, “We only beat them 1-0. ... I definitely have confidence in our team, but we just need to stay focused. Definitely.”

Brooke Baker, the other co-captain, said, “We didn’t play Panther Soccer (on Sept. 28). I think if we step on the field and play like we have in the sectional tournament, and in the few games we had before the sectional tournament, I feel like ... it’ll be a hard game, but we’ll come out with a win.”

“We’re going to have to work to get the ball in the back of the net. I think they’re all aware of that.”

Hill said, “Brooke Baker and Kassie Catron have both played in two final fours. ... They understand the type of game it takes to be successful at that point in the postseason.”

Baker said, “I’ve had the privilege of playing on the PikeView soccer team for four years now, and ... this is one of the best teams that we’ve had.”

“To be able to lead a team that’s so young, and take them to the regional championship has been awesome, because they’re a great bunch of girls that have definitely put in the work, and they deserve to be up there just as much as anyone else does.”

Postseason play is “different,” Catron said. “During the season, you want to win, but it doesn’t really matter if you lose. Then when it’s the playoffs, if you lose, you’re out.”

Baker said, “I think it’s finally starting to set in for them that if we don’t win now, we’re done. We’re eight teams (in Class AA and A) that have the privilege to still step on a soccer field and practice and go out and play.”

Freshman Lexi O’Dell is the top point-producer for PikeView with 12 goals and nine assists. Baker had 10 goals and six assists this season, bringing her career total to 15 goals and 21 assists. Shyann Carr and Courtney Gray have eight goals each.

With 79 saves, goalkeeper Kristen Brinkley is averaging 3.95 saves a game for PikeView.

The PikeView girls program has made the state “final four” in three of the last four years, including last season.

• • •

The winners of Thursday’s matches play in the state tournament semifinals for Class AA-A at the Beckley YMCA Soccer Complex on Friday, Nov. 8.

— Contact Tom Bone at

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