POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.
The Point Pleasant girls soccer team made its 20th shot of the night a memorable one as Ashley Staats scored the game-winner with under 19 minutes left in regulation Monday night during a tightly-contested 1-0 victory over visiting Lincoln County in a non-conference friendly at Ohio Valley Bank Track and Field in Mason County.
The Lady Knights (5-8-3) — who were competing in their final regular season home outing — were dominant throughout the match, although the scoreboard didn’t reflect that for well over 60 minutes of play.
The Red and Black took the first nine shots of regulation and held the Lady Panthers (12-4-1) without a single shot attempt over the opening 27 minutes of play, but — despite a 12-3 edge in opportunities — neither team managed a goal before the intermission.
Point Pleasant continued its relentless offensive attack at the start of the second half — and came real close to breaking the scoreless tie just five minutes in after Teagan Hay had an open look from top left corner of the box.
Hay’s shot attempt, however, bounced off the top left of the cross bar and eventually caromed over the goal, leaving the game scoreless with 35:58 remaining in regulation.
LCHS mustered a handful of decent looks over the next 15-plus minutes, but the score remained deadlocked until the 62nd minute.
Following a Lincoln County goal kick, the hosts intercepted possession and worked the ball back into the attacking third of the field.
Staats ended up with possession about 20 yards away from the goal and standing in the middle of the field. The sophomore blasted a left-footed shot from that location and found the back of the net, giving the hosts a 1-0 advantage with 18:34 left in the contest.
The Lady Panthers and Lady Knights each produced two shots the rest of the way, allowing Point Pleasant to hold on for the slim one-goal triumph.
The Red and Black outshot the guests by a sizable 22-9 overall margin, which included a 15-7 edge in shots on goal. Point also had five of the seven corner kicks and 7-of-11 fouls in the match.
PPHS coach Chris Errett was very proud of his troops’ resiliency throughout the match, even though he definitely understood the frustration of having nothing to show for a plethora of chances.
“The girls did a lot of things well tonight that didn’t show up on the scoreboard,” Errett said. “We had plenty of shots and we had some good opportunities, but they just weren’t going in. It was good that the girls didn’t get frustrated and just kept getting after it. Eventually, that hard work paid for us and we were able to get a goal and the win.
“The girls gave another top-notch effort and it’s good to go out at home with a win. Hopefully we can take some of this momentum moving forward into our final game and then the tournament.”
Monica Cook stopped seven shots in net for the hosts while preserving a shutout. Malie Curry stopped 14 shots in net for the Lady Panthers.
Point Pleasant concludes the regular season on Saturday when it travels to Spring Valley for a 7 p.m. contest.
The Lady Knights — a two seed — begin tournament play on Tuesday when they host third seeded Sissonville in a Class AA Region 4, Section 1 opening round match at 7 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.