NAHS girls claim soccer sectional title

North Adams’ Jessica Woodall, left, chases the ball upfield with an intense Piketon defender on her heels in action from Tuesday’s Div. III sectional final, won by the Lady Devils 6-0.
North Adams’ Jessica Woodall, left, chases the ball upfield with an intense Piketon defender on her heels in action from Tuesday’s Div. III sectional final, won by the Lady Devils 6-0.

District semi-finals up next –

Story and photo by Mark Carpenter –

Another successful season will continue for Coach Dave D’Avignon and his North Adams Lady Devils soccer squad as they captured their second consecutive Division III sectional championship with a 6-0 win over the Piketon Lady Redstreaks on Tuesday, Oct. 18 on their home field in Seaman.  The Lady Devils had concluded their regular season the previous week with another 6-0 win over Piketon, but the tournament match up proved to be a bit tougher, if only for awhile.
The North Adams girls continue to shatter the school record book as a hat trick by Lakyn Hupp gave her 25 goals on the season, breaking a record that she shared last year with the graduated Cati Butler.  The three goals also gave Hupp 58 for her career, which is another NAHS record, which she will continue to add to in her senior year in 2017.  The win was also another shutout for goalie Madee Shipley, her 10th of the season, extending her own record.
The first half of the sectional final contest was a struggle for the Lady Devils and the only score of the half was certainly a unique one.  With 6:11 to go, the Lady Redstreaks were called for a handball in the box, giving the Lady Devils the penalty kick.  Coach D’Avignon made an interesting choice, pulling Shipley from the goal on the other end of the field to take the kick and she did the job, driving it home for her first goal of the season and a 1-0 halftime advantage for the home team.
“That’s the first time I have ever seen a goalkeeper take a penalty kick during the regular course of a game, but it was no fluke,” said Coach D’Avignon.  “The whole team has been practicing penalty kicks to prepare for a possible tournament tie-breaker and Madee knows what she’s doing.  The whole team loved it.”
“The whole first half Piketon bunkered all 11 players in front of their goal and it was difficult for us to get a clear shot.  With Madee’s goal, they had to come out and play offense which opened up the space for our girls to exploit, so the second half was a different story.”
As the men from Monty Python might say, the second half was “something completely different”, and it began less than three minutes in when senior Kitasha Mesmer was in the right spot to score off a shot on goal from Hupp.  Nine minutes later it was 3-0 when Hupp took a ball that bounced high off a Piketon player and headed it into the net for her record-breaking 56th career goal, but she was not nearly finished.
Three minutes later, Hupp found the net again, as the ball went from fullback Mary Sonner back to Shipley, ahead to Taylor Hesler, further upfield to Abby Shupert, who sent it to Hupp, who juked two defenders for a shot that was stopped by the Piketon goalie, but Hupp was right there to score on the rebound to make it 4-0.
With 22:22 left to play, Hupp finished off her hat trick with an unassisted goal from about 20 yards away and then the final goal of the game was the first of the season for Cloie Vance, who tapped home a nice centering pass from Kaitlyn Shreffler to account for the 6-0 final and another sectional title for the Lady Devils., who now stand at 12-2-3.
“I can get used to these sectional championships but right now we have bigger fish to fry,” said Coach D’Avignon.  “We’ve got Southeastern coming up in the district semi-final and we are looking forward to avenging one of our only two losses of the season.”
The two teams played back on Sept. 10 at Southeastern with the Lady Devils suffering a close 2-1 defeat.  They will meet again in a district semi-final on Oct. 26 at Waverly High School.  The game is set to kick off at 7 p.m.  A win there will send North Adams to the district championship game on Oct. 29, likely facing number one seeded Wheelersburg, a team the Lady Devils battled to a tie on Oct. 8.