High School Sports

West Harrison girls earn rematch against Oxford in 5A finals

West Harrison’s girls are headed back to the Class 5A state finals.
West Harrison’s girls are headed back to the Class 5A state finals. West Harrison

The West Harrison Lady Hurricanes will be making their second straight trip to the Class 5A state soccer finals.

The news was not as good Tuesday night for the Hurricanes men’s soccer team.

West Jones will be making its first-ever trip to the Class 5A boys state soccer championship game after turning back host West Harrison 2-1.

In the opener of the soccer doubleheader at West Harrison, the Lady Hurricanes shut out South Jones 3-0 in the Class 5A South State finals.

“It was a goal for us at the start of the season and we knew we were capable of doing it,” Lady Hurricanes coach Todd Moniz said. “We have gotten better as the season has gone along and that’s what it is all about — playing well at the right time of the season — and we are doing that right now.’’

Eighth-grader Marley Sims scored two goals, including an early one in the first half that staked West Harrison to a 1-0 lead. Junior Haley Kim added another goal as West Harrison went into halftime with a 2-0 lead.

South Jones (13-4- 2) tried to get back in the contest midway in the second half but West Harrison senior keeper Haley Lott and the Lady Hurricanes defenders had all of the answers during that challenge.

“They had a great game plan taking us out of what we like to do,” Moniz said. “We were able to adjust and get the result. (Sims) is a great addition to a talented team. We have a lot of experience on this team and they know what it takes.”

West Harrison (16-4- 2) will take on Oxford in the girls 5A finals.

“There was a lot of pressure,” Lott said. “(South Jones) had a lot of fight in them but we were a better team all around.”

West Jones 2, West Harrison 1

Meanwhile, Javier Ramirez and Carlos Mendoza scored first-half goals that made the West Harrison boys team battle from behind. Finally, the Hurricanes broke through late in the second half as senior Taylor Shea scored with 4:18 left. But the Mustangs (13-8- 1) held on behind keeper Jess Cooley and kept West Harrison (8-11- 2) from making its first trip to the boys finals.

West Jones meets Oxford in the boys finals.

“Coach (Ryan) Walton and I coached together for six to eight years,” West Jones coach Joshua Sullivan said. “We play a lot alike and we knew it would be a tough game. My keeper Jess Cooley had three phenomenal saves — five total. He leads our defense. Hats off to my seniors.”

West Harrison had rallied in the stretch run of the regular season — and in the playoffs — to reach the South State finals.

“We came out flat and we made a couple of mistakes in the back and you can’t do that when you get here,” Walton said. “The guys played great in the second half, with a lot of intensity and did what we asked them to do. Two down is a big hole to climb out of.

“We played really well down the stretch. They really started clicking and coming together the last three to four weeks in district play. We had a tough one against South Jones on Saturday and just came out flat (tonight). You can’t do that.”