WELLSBURG—Protection is the Morgantown Mohigans’ calling card and has been the vast majority of the season.
Whether or not or not it’s stellar goalie play or an unyielding again line, MHS pitched 11 shutouts, together with three in a row coming into Thursday’s Class AAA, Area I soccer championship match towards rival Univesity.
The consequence? One other win, one other shutout, and one other journey to Beckley for head coach Sam Snyder, all because of the workforce’s relentless defensive unit.
“The protection performed phenomenal,” Snyder mentioned because the Mohigans improved to 17-4-1. “We obtained away from that for a bit with some accidents, however it’s now 4 straight shutouts and while you preserve zeros on the board, you give your self an opportunity.”
A recreation College outfit practically matched its rival’s defensive cease for defensive cease, if not for one play within the first half.
Fittingly, the sport’s lone rating got here off the sturdy proper foot of Morgantown defender Fynn Rolston.
With 20:27 exhibiting, Rolston took a free kick from the left aspect, lofting a robust shot that bent left the previous few yards and out of the attain of Hawks’ keeper Connor Montgomery.
That one objective marred an in any other case spectacular outing from Montgomery, who made numerous sensible saves, together with leaping as much as block an try for Morgantown’s Rayyan Hanif at close to point-blank vary.
College’s protection was simply as sturdy Thursday, not permitting MHS to get good shot makes an attempt on the internet, together with on numerous free and nook kicks.
The possibilities have been there, however UHS prevented their rivals from ending—save for one.
“I feel with a few exceptions that didn’t harm us, our protection performed pretty disciplined,” College head coach Michael Smith mentioned. “We have been sturdy within the air, challenged every little thing and have been appropriately aggressive.
“Kudos to the again line. They confirmed up.”
Snyder was equally as complimentary of the Hawks’ defensive efforts.
He is aware of his workforce went via numerous prime scoring alternatives with the lone objective to point out for it. The Mohigans might want to end higher in Beckley in the event that they hope to depart Raleigh County with one other Class AAA championship.
“They made a number of last-ditch superb performs, both good header clearances or superb saves by the goalie,” Smith mentioned of College. “They pressed us effectively and made it laborious. We talked about all of it week that in the case of the playoffs, it’s a must to grind and rating off set items and we have been in a position to do this.
“We have been simply lacking (offensively). We’d get a harmful ball right into a harmful space and we’d get that first contact, however somebody would make a play and we couldn’t get the following to complete it off.
“We have to enhance a bit extra on that.”
Montgomery completed with 10 stops in internet for the Hawks.
His counterpart, senior Tyler Crites, wanted solely 4 saves to protect his clear sheet and solely a kind of 4 was the Mohigans’ keeper legitimately challenged.
“They’ve a very strong backline,” Smith mentioned of Morgantown. “They’ve been that approach all season and, to be fairly trustworthy, having to fret about their offense as effectively made it lots to deal with. We felt if we may keep compact on our finish and put on them down and frustrate them, perhaps we may get a break and get one to go in.”
UHS practically obtained simply that.
Late within the second half, Morgantown tried one other free kick, however the ball went a bit too far north of the penalty field, the place a College participant booted it downfield into the trail of Brady Grubb.
Grubb outmaneuvered a defender and handed the ball forward to Alex Lopez Maldonado, who labored it up the left sideline, lastly getting a strong try at Crites, who turned the shot away.
BY MIKE HUGHES