Beckley – Lily Hanna nailed two goals from outside the box and Maya Taggart added a hat trick as defending state champion Wheeling Park beat Cabell Midland 5-0 Friday afternoon to advance to the Class AAA state title game.
Taggart opened the scoring in the ninth minute with Hanna nailing shots in the 34th and 38th minutes to give the Patriots a 3-0 lead heading into the break.
Taggart sealed the deal with goals in the 53rd and 57th minutes.
“Again, a senior,” Park head coach Carrie Hanna said of Taggart. “These girls know what it feels like and they want to feel it again. It’s their last opportunity to do it again with their program and this team so I think they were just all ready.”
As impressive as the Patriots were on offense they were just as much so on defense. They held the Knights in check, limiting Midland star Olivia Charles to just one shot, the only shot they allowed all game.
“Abby Barki and I joked at halftime in the locker room,” Hanna said. “I told her if I ever need a bodyguard she’s it because any time I tell her to shut somebody down – we know Olivia Charles is a big time player for them and you can’t give her any time and space or she’ll light you up every time. And Barki does that to everybody who their most dangerous threat is and she does it so cleanly. Not even a foul, ever. To deny a player an opportunity to take a free look at your goal, you just can’t give it to players like that so I can’t say enough about Abby Barki and the whole defense. Just solid pressure, cover and balance everywhere. They have each other’s backs.”
The Lady Patriots will defend their title Saturday morning when they play George Washington.