BECKLEY, W.Va. — That darn luck of the Irish.
The Point Pleasant boys soccer team fell 4-3 in overtime to the Charleston Catholic Irish in the finals of the WVSSAC Class A-AA Boys Soccer State Tournament Saturday morning.
Down two goals with seven minutes to go, the Black Knights scored two goals to force overtime.
The start of Saturday’s game was the definition of ‘deadlock’, with both teams’ defenses doing a good job of containing the opposition.
The first shot on goal occurred 18 minutes in, with Point senior Nick Cichon-Ledderhose kicking a free kick dead center of the Irish goal.
In the last 10 minutes of the first half, Catholic started getting a firmer grasp of the total offense, spending a lot of time on Point Pleasant’s half of the field.
Another thing going against the Black and Red was foul trouble, with three Black Knights getting yellow cards in the first half.
The first goal of the game came with 95 seconds to go before halftime with Catholic’s Robert Groom scoring on a short breakaway.
In a rare sight for the 2021 season, the Black Knights were down on the scoreboard heading into the second half.
The Irish picked up where they left off, putting on more shots on the Black Knight goal, including a goal scored by midfielder Billy Ford seven minutes in.
Down 2-0, the Black Knights were starting to feel the pressure, making communication mistakes and just not playing with the same energy they had in the first half.
That all changed when junior Ian Wood scored a goal for the Black Knights with 16 minutes to go, giving the Black and Red a much-needed shot in the arm.
Although this momentum was quickly stopped when Samuel Delgra scored on an Irish free kick five minutes later to put Point down by two goals once again.
Having a lot of ground to cover in such little time, the Black Knights got to work with just under seven minutes to go, with Wood scoring his second goal off a goalie deflection.
Then, with 90 seconds to go, the Irish goalie had a foul called on him when he hung onto the ball after making a save, giving the Black Knights a free kick inside of the Catholic box.
Wood got the hat trick by sinking the free kick in the back of the net, forcing overtime.
There was only one shot made during overtime, and it was Groom who made it, capitalizing on an Irish corner kick four minutes in to win the championship for the Green and White.
The only shots for the Black Knights were made by Ledderhose and Woods, who had three shots each throughout Saturday’s game.
Groom led the Irish in shots with five.
Black Knight goalie Brecken Louden had six saves, while John Patnoe had three for the Irish.
Point head coach Chip Wood said he’s proud of the mettle his team showed.
“It told me they were everything I thought they were,” he said. “They were a group of guys that would not quit. They were going to play until the last whistle. I’m proud of them for sticking with it.”
Wood also praised the leadership his outgoing group of seniors gave.
“This is the most successful senior class that has ever went through Point soccer,” he said. “They’ve won more games than any other class and it’s not even close. The seniors constantly showed leadership, even the ones who weren’t named captains. They are an outstanding group of individuals.”
The Black Knights end the 2021 season with a 22-2-1 record.
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Colton Jeffries can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.