PARKERSBURG - Multiple-goal deficits have haunted the Parkersburg South girls' soccer team throughout the regular season. However, this is the postseason and the Patriots confidently shrugged off the fact they fell behind 2-0 to Brooke in a Class AAA, Region I, Section I championship.
Wednesday night at Erickson All-Sports Facility, Kirsten Jones scored two goals and Lexi Smith added another as South defeated the Bruins 3-2 for its first sectional title since 2008.
"To be honest, I wasn't too terribly worried because I know what my team is capable of doing and I know our girls never quit," South coach Ron Bucholtz said. "We've gotten ourselves in a couple 2-0 deficits that we couldn't come back from, so there's the big difference between early in the season and this point in the season."
South, which defeated Brooke 2-1 in a match played the second week of September, improves to 14-6-2 and advances to Tuesday's regional final in Wheeling against today's winner between University and Morgantown.
"This win is very gratifying as a coach because these girls have worked hard - especially the senior class," Bucholtz said. "It's great to see them playing to their potential. They showed that on the field with their composure and their ability to come back from two goals down."
Brooke's Michaela Hinerman appeared on her way to a possible hat trick after scoring the game's first goal with 38:11 still remaining before halftime. The senior co-captain tacked on a second goal at the 22:15 mark to put the Bruins in front 2-0.
"We knew exactly what to expect from Brooke and unfortunately we let their star forward Michaela Hinerman get behind us," Bucholtz said. "Once we had the mishaps early, our defense played nicely. After that, Monica Stanwick contained her beautifully and Zoe Merrill played a dynamite game in the back as she always does."
Hinerman was responsible for eight of Brooke's 10 shots on goal.
"Michaela is a terrific player and one of the best forwards in the state of West Virginia," Brooke coach Lee Weppler said. "South shut her down after she got those first two goals, so credit them with making some changes in the gameplan and finishing this game out."
Playing without their first-string keeper in Alexis Skinner, who suffered an injury during practice Tuesday, the Patriots stuck with Olivia Carpenter despite the two early goals and the freshman responded with eight saves for the match.
While Carpenter was posting a shutout in the final 60 minutes, the Patriots offense relied on Kirsten Jones, who received a pair of assists from her younger sister Alli Jones. The duo hooked up for South's first goal with 3:56 remaining in the first half. They struck again with the score knotted at 2 and 22:00 showing on the clock in the second half.
"We have Alli on the field for a particular reason - for her finesse, control and ability to make passes," Bucholtz said. "Her vision on the field is outstanding."
In between the sister act was Smith's game-tying goal at the 26:10 mark of the second half thanks to an assist from Taylor Life, who injured her knee and had to be helped off the field late in the match.
"I shot it around the corner and was praying the ball would go in," Smith said.
Brooke ends the campaign at 16-4-2.
"We had those two early goals - everything was looking good then we let them get back into it with a (first-half) goal and they got the momentum," Weppler said. "South came out in the second half, played hard and won a majority of the 50-50 balls from that point on."