Local Sports, Morgantown, Sports

Morgantown girls down BU 4-1 to advance to state tournament

WELLSBURG — Next stop, Beckley and the West Virginia State Soccer Tournament.

Senior standout Emily Carpenter collected a hat trick 30 minutes into the match, leading the Morgantown girls’ soccer team to a 4-1 victory against Buckhannon-Upshur in the West Virginia Class AAA Region 1 Final Thursday night on Paul “Bud” Billiard Field inside Brooke Memorial Stadium.

The victory against the Buccaneers enabled the Mohigans to punch their ticket and advance to the state tournament down in Beckley for the second straight season.

“This is my first time. I’m excited,” first-year Morgantown (15-1-2) head coach Bri Frontuto said. “For a lot of the team, this is their second or more trip.”

Morgantown is the defending state champions.

“It is exciting,” Frontuto said. “We have repeated as regional champions, and we get to go back to the state tournament. We are going to face tough competition. We have some things we have to improve on.”

Morgantown will play in the state semifinals Thursday at the Paul Cline Memorial Sports Complex against an opponent to be determined and at a time to be announced.

“When we won the OVAC Tournament, I said we have three more trophies to win,” Frontuto said. “We have won two of them. There is one more on the list.”

Morgantown dominated the match against Buckhannon-Upshur from start to finish.

The Mohigans outshot the Buccaneers 21-1 in the match. The girls in white tallied 16 shots on goal, while the girls in pink took just one.

Morgantown’s constant offensive pressure resulted in Buckhannon-Upshur taking 11 goal kicks, while the victors took just two. Morgantown also had a 5-1 advantage in corner kicks.

The Mohigans controlled the ball early on and took some shots on goal, however, they were unable to find the back of the net.

That all changed nearly 10 minutes into the match when Carpenter broke through the BU defense and fired a shot into the net giving Morgantown a 1-0 lead with 30:02 remaining to be played in the first half.

The Mohigans stayed on the attack, however, Buccaneers’ goalie Kyndal Davis was up to the challenge. Davis made multiple key saves throughout the match to keep her team within striking distance.

“Their keeper was excellent,” Frontuto said. “She kept them in the match. I told the girls when I was going over the gameplan that their goalkeeper was really good. One-on-ones are tough to stop for any keeper, but hats off to her. She faced so many of those.

“We were able to score some goals, but their keeper is really talented. She is excellent. She is going to be going places.”

The score remained 1-0 for more than 20 minutes before Carpenter collected her second goal of the half — this one coming with 12:01 left before halftime — to give her team a 2-0 lead.

“Emily will run through anything,” Frontuto said. “She will run through a brick wall, or she run through a defense. She has a lot of speed. She has been very consistent. She has executed for us all season. She has been very consistent.”

It did not take Carpenter as long to score her next goal.

Carpenter capped off the hat trick and the scoring in the first half as she found the back of the net for the third time with 10:00 showing on the stadium scoreboard enabling Morgantown to extend their advantage to 3-0.

“Emily is consistent,” Frontuto said. “She has a lot of speed. She is a tough player. She will run through anything. She performed exactly as I expected her to.”

The Mohigans appeared to score another goal later on in the half, however, the Mohigans were called offside on the play, negating the goal.

Freshman Nora Miller, who came onto the pitch as a substitute, scored with less than 15 minutes left in the match to increase Morgantown’s advantage to 4-0. Miller’s goal came with 14:19 left to play.

“This team has worked hard all season, day in and day out,” Frontuto said. “We are a small team.”

Buckhannon-Upshur went nearly 70 minutes with a shot until junior forward Harley Dean fired a shot into the back of the net to cut the Buccaneers’ deficit to 4-1 with 10:03 remaining in the match.

Morgantown goalie Camdyn Smith did not make a save. 

Frontuto also credited her midfielders for playing a strong match.

With the sectional and regional trophies in their bag, Morgantown will now turn its attention to the upcoming state tournament.

“It is going to be a combination of practice and them getting some rest,” Frontuto said asked how she plans on handling the next week.

A couple of the Morgantown girls went down with injuries in the win, and they will use the time off to get healthy for the state tournament. 

“We want to have quicker play,” Frontuto said. “We want to fix gaps. We have gaps in some places.”

With the regional championship under their belt, the Mohigans were hoping the Morgantown boys’ soccer team would be able to join them down in Beckley.

“Hopefully, the boys are able to make it too,” Frontuto said. “I think it will be the first time the boys and the girls made it to the state tournament in the same season.”

Both Morgantown teams are headed to the state tournament as the boys’ soccer team defeated rival University, 1-0, in the nightcap at Brooke. 

Being the defending state champions, the Mohigans have had a target on their back all season, and that target will remain there at the state tournament.

“The girls have felt the pressure,” Frontuto said. “We have some repeat players. We want to win it again for our two seniors, Emily and Gracie (Brown). They are our leaders.”