Hurricane shuts down Huntington St. Joe in battle of soccer unbeatens
HURRICANE, W.Va. - George Peppard’s character Hannibal in the old TV show “The A-Team” was famous for saying, “I love it when a plan comes together.”
Hurricane High School girls soccer coach Shelly Young could relate to Peppard after her team defeated Huntington St. Joe 2-0 in a Saturday-afternoon showdown of two of the better teams in the state.
“I’m very proud of them,” Young said of her players, particularly the defense. “We worked on defense yesterday in practice. They executed everything that we worked on.”
Shutting out the Irish is an accomplishment, as they feature prolific scorers in McKenzie Moran and Abi Hugh, among other players capable of finding the back of the net. The Redskins, though, permitted Huntington St. Joe (5-1-0) just five shots on goal and none sneaked past goalkeeper Olivia Bird.
“I’m very pleased,” Bird said. “St. Joe is a very good team. Our defense was really strong and it needed to be because they have some great players, especially McKenzie Moran and Abi Hugh.”
Hurricane (6-0-1) features great players of its own. Shannon Felker was one Saturday, as she scored the game-winning goal off an assist by Bailey Fisher at the 42:59 mark. Maliah McCann-Coles scored the other goal, deftly rebounding a Fisher shot off Irish goalie Samantha Richbart and tapping it into the goal at 63:39.
“It’s hard to shut us down on offense,” Young said. “We have so many good players.”
Both teams were shorthanded Saturday, as Hurricane was missing three players for a variety of reasons and Huntington St. Joe was without a few injured players and fielded a roster of just 13. The Irish’s lack of depth showed on the hot, muggy afternoon.
“We only had two subs because of multiple injuries,” Irish assistant coach Ben Eng said. “We never got in a flow. Hurricane’s a great team and they capitalized on that.”
Huntington St. Joe’s lack of depth dramatically came into play because of injuries. Moran injured her ankle with 1:56 left until halftime and left the game before returning for the second half. Richbart suffered a breathing problem that required her to sit out for 1:27 of the second half after using her inhaler. During that time, Felker scored. Laney Whitmore also left the game with what appeared to be a chest injury.
Both teams narrowly missed scoring chances in the first half. Moran’s header at 5:05 before halftime missed by inches. At the 27:30 mark, Fisher launched a shot that bounded off the heel of a sprawled Richbart. Zoe Green fired a shot off the rebound, but Richbart smothered it.
In the second half, Hurricane’s Sydney Bell shot from about 35 yards and goalkeeper Abby Lee, subbing for Richbart, barely tipped it away at the last second to prevent a goal.
The Redskins return to action at 6 p.m. Thursday at defending Class AAA state champion Cabell Midland. The Irish are at home at 6 p.m. Tuesday against Ravenswood.
HUNTINGTON ST. JOE 0 0 - 0
HURRICANE 0 2 - 2
H - Felker (Fisher), 42:59
H - McCann-Coles, 63:39
Shots: HSJ 5, H 7. Saves: HSJ 2 (Richbart 1, Lee 1), H 2 (Bird 2). Corner kicks: HSJ 3, H 3.