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Hoffman, Kirk lead Eagles

October 22, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - Jennifer Hoffman gave the Musselman girls soccer team way too many crosses to bear.

Hoffman connected on four crossing passes - one for a score and the others leading to Leslie Kirk goals - as Hedgesville defeated Musselman 5-0 in a West Virginia Class AAA Region II, Section 4 semifinal Tuesday.

Hoffman found Kirk streaking down the middle of the field on two long passes for the Eagles' first two goals. She scored the next two herself - the first on a disputed offsides call and the second on a pass that went into the goal - before finding Kirk one last time before the final whistle.

For Hoffman, the crosses were easier to execute than they were to explain.

"I've been playing since I was little," she said, shrugging her shoulders. "I've played mostly defense, but I moved up to the front line early in the year because of injuries."

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Hoffman and Kirk have become Hedgeville's 1-2 punch.

"Between Hoffman and Leslie Kirk, that is the deadliest duo out there," Hedgesville coach Sonny Tippett said. "They are neck and neck in scoring, but they are out there looking for each other."

Hoffman found Kirk early, stopping a startling pass at her feet and directing it 10 yards down the right sideline before sending a 25-yard cross to midfield for Kirk, who popped it over goalie Christy Lewis' head with 2:17 left in the first quarter for the only score of the first half.

"I have no idea why we do so well. I guess it's because we think the same," Hoffman said. "I go over and she's looking for me, and I look for her."

Hedgesville hung up four more scores in the second half, starting with a Hoffman cross from along the goal line, leading to a Kirk header into the goal at the third minute of the third quarter.

Hoffman scored on the phantom offsides call, juking Lewis out of position and running the ball into the goal for the 3-0 lead after three quarters. She opened the fourth period with a cross in front of the Musselman goal that went through Lewis' hands for a score.

Musselman, meanwhile, put up a fight but failed to come up with anything to show for it. Hedgesville's collapsing defense choked off the goal mouth and the Applemen failed to get strong shots or bounced attempts off goal bars.

"We couldn't finish, but we came so close," Musselman coach Eric Gill said. "They say it's a game of inches, this was a game of millimeters. We get a touch and it's a different game. If you go in and not finish, you aren't going to win. We should have been up 3- or 4-1 at the half. This was still the best game Musselman has played."

Hoffman fed Kirk with a breakaway cross with 8:00 remaining to close the scoring. Lewis was able to stop 13 of Hedegeville's 18 shots.

Eagles goalie Kim Beaucieu stopped nine of the Applemen's 10 shots.

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