Wheelersburg eliminates North Adams 6-1 –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
For the second consecutive season, the North Adams Lady Devils soccer squad made an appearance in the Southeast District Division III district championship game and for the second consecutive season, the dream died at that point. After losing a 3-2 heartbreaker in 2016 to the Wheelersburg Lady Pirates, the North Adams girls faced off once again with those same Lady Pirates on a chilly Oct. 28 evening on the turf at Waverly High School.
This time it wasn’t as close as the Wheelersburg squad controlled all the facets of the game, keeping constant pressure on the Lady Devils’ defense and coming up with six big goals to again eliminate North Adams by a final score of 6-1.
“We’ve been playing Wheelersburg every year since they’ve had a team and tonight was the best I have ever seen them play,” said North Adams head coach Dave D’Avignon.
The Lady Pirates are in just their fourth year of having high school girls soccer and already they are a constant presence in district and regional play, and the two teams had met in the regular season of 2017, with Wheelersburg eking out a 2-1 victory and now the two sides now matched up with a district title on the line, Wheelersburg with a number one seed and North Adams with a number two.
Things looked promising early for the Lady Devils as they scored the game’s first goal less than four minutes into the game. Near the 18-yard line, North Adams’ Braylie Jones made a throw-in to Lakyn Hupp, who after battling for possession, passed the ball forward to Karissa Buttelwerth who took a shot from the left side. The Wheelersburg keeper blocked the shot and the rebound caromed to Hupp, who fired a shot off the crossbar and right to the feet of teammate Alaina Eiterman who easily touched the ball into the net for a 1-0 North Adams lead, but unfortunately for the Lady Devils, that was the end of their offensive production for the game.
North Adams held that one-goal advantage for 14 minutes until a goal by the Lady Pirates’ Christen Risner tied the score. Five minutes later, Wheelersburg took the lead for good on a goal by Ellie Kalner with 17:17 left in the first half and that is where the scoreboard stood at the intermission, with the Lady Devils still right in the thick of the action.
That whole scenario changed early in the second half when a Wheelersburg onslaught resulted in three goals in a 13-minute span, one by Libby Miller, one by SOC Player of the Year Madison Humble, and the third by Lindlee Willis that gave the Lady Pirates a commanding 5-1 lead.
To put the final nail in the coffin, Wheelersburg got a goal in the 69th minute from Humble and claimed another district title as they downed North Adams by the final count of 6-1.
“Our girls fought hard tonight, but it just didn’t happen for us,” said Coach D’Avignon. “It was 2-1 at the half and in the second half they only outshot us 12-10, but the difference is that their shots were going in. Every one of their goals was a rocket and high off the ground. You’ve certainly got to give them credit.”
“We know that only one team will end up undefeated in the second season. Still it stings to again not get over that district final hurdle, but to put things in perspective, it wasn’t that many years ago that North Adams was struggling just to win a few games and now we are upset about not winning a district title.”
The loss marked the end of the careers of six North Adams seniors- Brooklyn Wylie, Taylor Hesler, Lakyn Hupp, Lydia Truitt, Madee Shipley, and Morgan Waits.
“We’ve come a long way and our seniors leading us tonight were a big part of turning our program into a winning one,” said D’Avignon. “We’re going to miss them, I’m going to miss them.”
“It’s been fun working with this whole group of girls. They worked hard, had fun, grew a little, and represented their school well. It’s young people like these that are the reason schools have sports programs.”