For The Intelligencer
BECKLEY - Grafton scored two second-half goals to defeat Weir 3-2 Friday in the Class AA-A girls semifinals of the state soccer tournament.
It will be the second consecutive appearance in the final for the Bearcats, who will play Sissonville at 11 this morning for the championship. Charleston Catholic beat Grafton 3-0 last year for the title.
Grafton’s Nancy Isner, left, heads the ball in front of Weir’s Megan Finton, during a semifinal match of the girls class AA/A state high school soccer tournament Friday.
Madison Cochran scored in the 66th minute, and Whitney Poling found the back of the net in the 67th to put Grafton ahead 3-1.
Weir (12-6-1) had tied the game in the 42nd minute on a goal by Alyssa Shingle.
"That goal took a little bit of wind out of our sails," Grafton coach Lorraine Isner said. "But we realized this is it. This is our season. We had to score again."
The momentum went back and forth all game. Grafton was the aggressor early, culminating several attacks with a goal by Nancy Isner from a Cochran assist in the ninth minute.
"I wanted us to get an early lead to fall back on because sometimes our second-half play is not as intense as we want," Nancy Isner said.
Weir went on the attack and barely missed a goal when Grafton keeper Shawna Graham stopped a shot by Alyssa Shingle at point-blank range.
The game remained 1-0 at halftime. Shingle scored the equalizer, and then the Bearcats went on a roll.
Cochran scored from a Whitney Poling assist, and then Poling found the back of the net from a pass from Kari Fawcett.
Undaunted, Weir rallied for a final goal, by Meghan Finton in the 73rd minute following a corner kick.
"It was like a tennis match, back and forth," Weir coach Jessica Naughton said. "Who was going to take it? Who was going to going to let up? It was definitely frustrating from the sideline."
Weir took three final shots on goal, all saved by Graham, then Grafton had two shots stopped by Red Riders keeper Taylor Gianangeli.
"The second half we made it interesting," Lorraine Isner said. "The pressure was a challenge for us."