PDT Sports Contributor
JACKSON – If it seems like the words Wheelersburg Pirates and winning titles are synonyms to each other, that’s because they are.
The Pirates’ soccer team added another title to the ever-growing list as Wheelersburg defeated Fairfield 2-0 for the Division III Southeast District Championship at Jackson High School on the strength of two Keith Thurmur goals and outstanding defensive play.
Coach Paul Boll was elated and surprised that his young Pirate squad was able to pull the district title off, especially considering the fact that Leesburg defeated Zane Trace, whom Wheelersburg lost to 8-0 earlier on in the season.
“It was a great effort all around,” Boll said. “Defensively, we played great; we shut out Leesburg who just beat Zane Trace. Earlier in the season, we lost to Zane Trace 8-0. It’s almost unbelievable for me that we ended up winning the district, when we had teams like Zane Trace and Leesburg in the district, they are just outstanding teams.”
In fact, the Pirates’ defense was so impressive that goalkeeper Zach Jordan was only required to stop two balls, which he did successfully.
“Zach had one of his best games, even though he only had a couple of saves,” Boll said. “We were able to keep them out of the goal very well. That’s another shutout for Zach, and I believe that is his fifth or sixth (shutout) of the season.”
The Pirates kicked off the scoring with nine minutes left to play in the first half, as Mark Butler found Keith Thurmur who was able to kick the ball over the head of the Fairfield goalie to put Wheelersburg ahead 1-0, where the score would hold until the halftime intermission.
Wheelersburg would strike again with 19 minutes remaining in the game as Ethan Pauley fed Thurmur, who streaked down the middle of the field and would score his second goal of the game, where the scoring would cease for the remainder of the game as the Pirates’ stellar defense did the rest on the way to the district title.
Wheelersburg is now 11-3-5 and will advance to the regional semifinals, where they will play Berlin Hiland. The Hawks defeated South Webster 2-0 Saturday afternoon. Boll says that Berlin Hiland is a threat to win the region every year and that the Hawks are loaded with talent.
“I think we’ve ran into Hiland about five times in regional play, and we met them one time for the district championship,” Boll said. “If you usually get this far, you will usually run into Hiland. They’re usually pretty tough.”
The date and time for the Wheelersburg – Berlin Hiland match will be next Wednesday night at 7 p.m. However, the site for the game between the Pirates and the Hawks had not been announced as of Saturday evening.
Wheelersburg 1 1 —2
Leesburg Fairfield 0 0 — 0
W – Thurmur (Butler) 9:00
W – Thurmur (Pauley) 19:00
Goals: Wheelersburg – Thurmur (2); Leesburg Fairfield N/A.
Assists: Wheelersburg – Butler, Pauley; Leesburg Fairfield N/A.
Saves: Wheelersburg – Jordan 2; Leesburg Fairfield N/A.