POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — They are the top-ranked team in the state of West Virginia for a reason.
Visiting Winfield produced the first 17 shots of the game and led 6-0 two minutes into the second half en route to a 7-3 victory over the Point Pleasant boys soccer team Tuesday night in a non-conference friendly at Ohio valley Bank Track and Field in Mason County.
The Black Knights (5-9-1) had little luck against the unbeaten Generals (14-0-0) as the Green and White outshot the hosts by a sizable 39-9 overall margin, which included a resounding 29-7 advantage in shots in goal.
To make matters worse, Winfield claimed a 25-2 advantage in shots in the first half alone — with PPHS mustering its first shot of the game at the 16:57 mark of the opening period. The Red and Black were already trailing 5-0 when that initial shot was attempted.
Yet, for all the disparity in the stats, the Black Knights played a fairly solid defensive game throughout the opening 20 minutes of regulation. But then, Winfield caught a fortunate break — and the flood gates opened from there.
With the game scoreless through 13 minutes of action, Point keeper Cole Walker had just made a stop and attempted to boot the ball deep for a clear. Instead, Walker unintentionally shanked the ball short and into possession of a Winfield player.
McVey Jordan booted the errant kick right back at the PPHS goal because of Walker being out of net on the clearing attempt, and the ball rocketed into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead at the 26:48 mark of the first half.
Five minutes later, Hayden O’Dell scored on a crossing pass from Vladislav Johns in front of the goal — giving the guests a 2-0 edge.
Jordan picked up his second goal of the game with 11 minutes left in the half after taking a crossing pass from Caleb White on the left side of the net and sending the ball to the upper right post for a 3-0 contest.
Douglas Harding made it a 4-0 contest with 3:33 remaining after netting a cross pass from Evan McCray, then Jordan picked up his hat trick with 2:30 left in the half as McCray again assisted on a goal — giving WHS a comfortable 5-0 cushion at the intermission.
After a challenging halftime speech from PPHS head coach Chip Wood, the Black Knights played with a little extra determination in the second half. But not before Winfield struck again.
O’Dell added his second goal of the game at the 38:46 mark after taking a crossing pass from Harding and planting in the back of the net for a 6-0 advantage.
Just 11 seconds later, Point Pleasant finally got on the board as junior Austin Adams got a breakaway chance on a deep run-out pass up the middle. Adams planted the ball in the back of the net at the 38:35 mark for a 6-1 deficit.
Jordan scored his fourth and final goal of the evening at the 31:30 mark after planting a pass from Harding in the back of the Point net, making it a six-goal edge once again at 7-1.
Adams ended up scoring the final two goals of the game for his sixth hat trick of the season. The second goal came on a breakaway with 27:34 remaining in regulation after Adams ran down a free ball, skirted the WHS keeper and planted the ball in the back of the net for a 7-2 contest.
Adams tacked on his final score — and the final goal of the game — with 17 minutes left in regulation after successfully booting a pass from Alex Carlisle to wrap up the four-goal outcome.
The Black Knights — despite winning the second half by a 3-2 scoring margin — were still outshot by a 2-to-1 margin in after the break, with Winfield claiming a 14-7 edge in attempts and a 12-5 cushion in shots on goal.
WHS also claimed a 7-0 advantage in corner kicks for the game.
Despite surrendering seven goals in the setback, Walker proved to be a workhorse all night after stopping 22 shots in net for the hosts.
Zack Strong and Hunter Sayre each played a half in net for Winfield and stopped two shots apiece in the victory.
Afterwards, Wood spoke about his team’s resiliency against a solid overall squad like Winfield.
“Winfield’s defense was playing such a high line in the first half, so we decided to move Austin (Adams) up to the forward position and just look for the long ball. It worked well because we were able to win the second half three to two,” Wood said. “Defensively, I thought we played really well throughout the game. Our shape was good and we were doing things correctly, but Winfield just seemed to have all the right answers and that’s what good teams do.
“We made two really bad mistakes in the first half and it cost us the rest of the way. However, I’m really proud of the kids for a playing a good, physical soccer match and keeping their composure when things weren’t going so well. I honestly thought we played well and held our own against the number one team in the state.”
Point Pleasant — which has now lost two straight decisions — returns to action Saturday when it travels to St. Marys for a non-conference match at 2 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.