The Dominion Post  

UHS girls’ soccer team falls in AAA final, 1-0

Created on:   Sat, Nov 4, 2017   11:26 PM

Last modified:   Sat, Nov 4, 2017   11:26 PM

The Dominion Post

BECKLEY — The only thing tougher than winning a high school state championship is defending one. University found out how hard it is Nov. 4.

Despite a tenacious effort from the Hawks, they fell, 1-0, to Cabell Midland, in the Class AAA girls’ soccer state championship, at Cline Field.

“First of all, congratulations to Cabell Midland,” Hawks co-coach Graham Peace said. “They scored a beautiful goal. It was a goal worthy of winning a state championship.”

The Knights earned the game-winning goal in the 13th minute, on a breakaway by standout sophomore forward Emilie Charles.

“Charles is a superb player,” Peace said. “I thought we contained her most of the game, but she got that one break. She did what she does and she scored.”

Senior Knights defender Ashton Lowe attempted to clear a ball from a tight situation and ended up sending the ball through to Charles.

Charles pulled senior Hawks keeper Maya Shetty out of goal on the ensuing
1-on-1, using a soft touch on the ball to get by her and put it in an open net.

“I just wanted to finish my opportunities, and I feel like I did that,” Charles said of the winning shot.

Shetty gave a valiant effort defending Charles and managed to get a touch on the ball before Charles slipped by. In the end, though, not much else could be done.

“She’s a fast player, and she got around me,” Shetty said. “I was also trying to hold her up to let my defense get behind me, in case she did get by me.

“They did, but it was a good shot, and there was nothing they could do to stop it either.”

Shetty said the decision to commit to Charles rather than stay in net was an easy one.

“Anytime a player is coming at you, coming out closes the gap. It was the best play to make.”

Peace agreed with his keeper’s decision on the play.

“I though she defended the play superbly,” Peace said. “It was a great battle, the best scorer in the state versus one of the best goalkeepers in the state, and this time Charles got the goal and did what she needed to do.”

The Hawks, despite controlling possession evenly with the Knights and staying in scoring opportunity throughout much of the second half, couldn’t get many decent shots at the goal and failed to respond to the Knights.

“They held on. They played an excellent defensive game, and they’re well-coached,” Peace said. “They’re a deserving champion.”

The Hawks were honored after the game as state runners-up, receiving both individual awards and a team award.

University finished
17-3-5 on the year.

Seniors playing their last game in a Hawks uniform were Leah Marsh, Sydney Antonik, Julia Hardy, Lydia Bowers, Braden Pickett, Melanie Lyons, Keely Hinkle, Madilyn Hinkle, Olivia Hinkle and Maya Shetty.