South girls put unbeaten mark on line vs. Big Reds

PARKERSBURG – Parkersburg South’s girls soccer team – which will meet crosstown rival Parkersburg High at noon today at the Erickson All-Sports Facility -not only is off to a 3-0 start, but also has outscored its opponents by a 15-4 margin.

“I’m very pleased to get out to a 3-0 start,” said Patriots head coach Ron Bucholtz, whose team opened with a 4-1 win over Steubenville Catholic Central and followed it up with a 5-3 win over University and a 6-0 whitewashing of John Marshall.

“We knew that Steubenville were not traditionally strong and expected to win those games,” Bucholtz said. “University always has been a strong team.”

South will face even a bigger test today against 2-0-1 Parkersburg.

“PHS always is a quality team and it’s always a tough game when we get together,” said Bucholtz, who has gotten stellar keeper play from Alexis Skinner. “She’s my starting keeper so long as she keeps playing the way she is capable of.”

Leading the Patriots in scoring are seniors Kirsten Jones and Alexis Smith. Sophomore Allison Jones and freshman Cassandra Whitlatch have contributed assists.

Bucholtz also praised the play of junior Taylor Life, who helps control the game from the middle of the field, and senior Emily Brezler, a strong defensive player.

South is deep. “The list of those contributing is endless,” Bucholtz said. “(Senior defender) Kristen Offutt can be exceptional. She discovered that role in the offseason playing for a travel team.”

Defender Zoe Merrill and midfielders Meredith O’Bara and Monica Stanwick also have given South quality minutes in their roles.

Last year, South lost its opening sectional match to Wheeling Park on penalty kicks. This year, the Patriots look to improve upon that scenario.

They will get a good measuring stick today against Parkersburg.

“I’m expecting a close competitive match,” said Bucholtz.

In addition to the girls match, the boys teams representing South and PHS will meet at 7 p.m. at Erickson, a match that was scheduled before the Big Reds were forced to move their football game to Saturday night. PHS brings a 1-0-2 mark into the match while South is 2-1.