SPRING VALLEY -- The Huntington High girls soccer team can tell you the only thing harder than winning a state championship is defending one.
Huntington has played this season with the proverbial target on its back, but truly didn't begin defense of the 2004 state title until Tuesday night at the Spring Valley Soccer Complex. Huntington beat Spring Valley, 3-0, in the first round of the Region IV, Section 3 girls soccer tournament.
The Highlanders advance to today's sectional championship against Cabell Midland. That game will be played about 7 p.m., also at Spring Valley. The first game of the doubleheader matches Cabell Midland and St. Joe at 5 p.m. for the boys' championship.
"It's very tough," said Huntington's Mariella Tassone, of defending the state title. "It's hard to keep the consistency every game. It's hard because people step up against you."
Huntington keeper Sam Yocke said trying to win a second consecutive championship is definitely harder.