PARKERSBURG - The snowfall effect from Hurricane Sandy has made its presence felt on the high school state soccer meet in West Virginia.
According to Tuesday's news release from the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission, the tournament originally scheduled to open Friday morning at the YMCA Youth Sports Complex in Beckley has been postponed until next week.
Semifinal matches in both Class AAA and AA/A will begin Tuesday morning, with the championships slated for the following day. One weather service report is estimating that Raleigh County will receive 2 feet of total snow accumulation when the storm finally tapers off Thursday.
"Other venues were discussed, but pulling the necessary personnel needed to host a state tournament would be extremely difficult at this late date," SSAC executive director Gary Ray said.
As a result, the Parkersburg High School boys program under the direction of coach Don Fosselman will have to wait another week to try and secure a possible seventh state title.
The second-ranked Big Reds (16-3-4) meet No. 6 George Washington (16-5-2) in one semifinal. Starting time will be 30 minutes following the completion of the first semifinal between No. 1 Hurricane (21-0-1) and No. 16 Hedgesville (14-6-1), which kicks off at 5 p.m. at Cline Field.
"For safety's sake and with the road conditions, postponing the matches is the best thing that could have been done in the interest of everyone," Fosselman said. "As far as moving the site, that would not be easy. That takes a lot of work.
"(West Virginia Soccer Association executive director) Dave Laraba is the person in charge of the state tournament and has been for a long time, and he does an excellent job."
Fosselman touched on the 75-plus volunteers who devote their time to not only making sure the soccer teams feel welcome, but also see that the tournament goes on without a hitch.
"It's a fine-tune machine - they do a tremendous job," Fosselman continued. "They have hosts who meet the team bus. In fact, one year we found out that we would be the home team for both matches Friday and Saturday, and one of the host mothers took the uniforms home and washed them."
When the Big Reds hook up with George Washington next week, a total of 12 days will have passed since their 2-1 win against University in the regional final.
Even though the players were given a day off from practice Tuesday, Fosselman is devising a plan to keep the team sharp - and making sure it does not pull a Detroit Tigers, who recently were swept in baseball's World Series after having nearly a week off from the American League Championship Series.
"Everyone at the same tournament is in the same boat, and it will be practice as usual for us," Fosselman said. "We will go hard the next three days and even scrimmage a little bit."
Wednesday's Class AAA boys championship is set to begin 45 minutes following the completion of the Class AAA girls title match, which will start at 10:30 a.m.
PHS returns to the state tournament for the first time in three years.
"This is a fun time and I want the players to enjoy it," Fosselman said. "The only reason I coach is to get back to the state tournament and let the kids enjoy the atmosphere. I like to show off my team and let people know how well we play soccer here at Parkersburg High School."