CHARLESTON – A storybook season for the Ripley Viking boys soccer team came to an end last Thursday night, as the Vikes bowed out in the Region 3, Section 1 championship match to the George Washington Patriots, 2-0. While the loss ended what was a wildly successful season for the Vikings, they still managed to get to the championship game after a hard fought comeback victory over the Capital Cougars last Wednesday night.
“I am very proud of this team and the way they handled themselves last week,” said head coach Tim Ross, “We fought a lot of obstacles starting on Monday with over ten players out with illness of the stomach virus and many still out on Tuesday the day before Sectional play including both goalkeepers.”
Against Capital, sophomore Samuel Pierson struck first. Pierson beat the Capital goalkeeper low and to the right to give the Vikings a 1-0 lead at the 36:36 mark of the first half. The Cougars battled back, as forward Tyler Shaffer notched the tying and go ahead goals late in the first half to give Capital a 2-1 lead at the half.
In the second period, senior Logan McKinney put the team on his back. He got the tying goal at the 35:28 mark of the second, and put home the game winner at the 23:28 mark. The Vikings snuffed out any Cougar comeback attempts, and took the 3-2 victory. Ripley badly outshot Capital, holding a 28-11 shot advantage. Keeper Austin Young made five saves, several of which kept the Vikings in the game in the first half.
The very next night, the Vikings met GW, who spent much of the season ranked #1 in the state and were even ranked nationally. Ripley tried to recreate the magic of their 1-0 victory over the Patriots in the regular season, but it was not to be.
GW got goals from Kaleb Crede and Ryan Mears to take a 2-0 lead in the first half, and the Patriots were able to hold off a spirited comeback attempt from the Vikings to take the sectional crown with a 2-0 win.
“They had two extremely physical games back to back on Wednesday and Thursday with no preparation or rest between games,” Ross said, “We were the only Sectionals in the state with this happening, I didn’t like it being scheduled that way but it was the hand we were dealt. These young men exemplified sportsmanship and gave it their all, in my book they are the best team in the state.”
Ripley finishes the season with a 15-6-1 record.