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Wheeling Park hands Parkersburg South first loss in Class AAA final

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Considering Parkersburg South entered Saturday’s Class AAA title game unbeaten and having allowed only one goal in 19 matches, Wheeling Park figured offense would be at a premium when the Patriots clashed with one another at Cline Stadium.

When Gracelyn Hanna scored off a free kick early in the match, it put PSHS in unfamiliar territory of trailing.

The defensive play of Wheeling Park ruled out the rest of the way, as Hanna’s goal stood as the lone score of the match and allowed the Patriots to knock off Parkersburg South, 1-0.

“This group has done everything I’ve asked,” Wheeling Park coach Carrie Hanna said. “They trust each other, themselves and their coach and when you do that, you can do big things. The motto of Ohio County schools is together we achieve and they certainly did that this weekend.”

The win gave Wheeling Park its first state championship since 2001 when it finished off a four peat.

One night after surrendering two goals in a 3-2 win over George Washington, Wheeling Park clamped down on defense and made sure Hanna’s free kick would count as the winner.

“We made a goalkeeper change toward the end of the season and Josephine Kulpa only gave up two goals since she’s been our starting keeper — and both were yesterday against GW,” coach Hanna said. “So we reviewed film and then we showed the girls where our defensive breakdowns were on their two goals so we could correct that.”

Although Parkersburg South generated opportunities, coach Hanna felt her team did a good job of adjusting on the fly.

“Give Parkersburg South credit. They kept throwing everything but the kitchen sink at us,” she said. “Our girls were aware on some of the changes they might make and they stuck to their assignments and tasks. We adjusted our formation as needed.“