Red Riders too much for Magnolia to handle

SETTING IT UP — Weir’s Natalie Cramer kicks against Magnolia during a Class AA/A Region 1 Section 1 matchup on Monday. (Photo by Andrew Grimm)

WEIRTON – An inspired 36-save effort from goalkeeper Laykin Biggs was not enough for No. 6 seed Magnolia to hang with No. 3 Weir Monday night at Jimmy Carey Stadium. The Red Riders controlled the action from start to finish and advanced in the West Virginia Class AA/A Region 1 Section 1 tournament with a 4-0 victory, led by a goal and two assists from Julia Gianni.

“We got the ball and we kept possession of it,” Weir coach Jeremy Angelo said. “That’s what we wanted to do tonight.”

Weir (13-7-1) peppered Biggs in the opening half, but the Blue Eagles (2-14-1) keeper came within 3:08 of sending the game into the break in a scoreless tie. Gianni, however, would not let it as she broke through and gave the Red Riders the a 1-0 lead by connecting from the right side of the net.

“She has over 500 saves this season, which is incredible,” Magnolia coach Rachel Sherrill said of Biggs. “She did great. I’m proud of the way our girls played. We were the sixth seed and they were the 3, so they had a better season than us, but we came out strong and ready to play, especially in the first half.”

It did not take Weir long to add to the lead in the second half.

Taylor Quickle and Rabekah Rowland each connected in the first nine minutes of the second half to make it a 3-0 lead. Gianni and Jessica Orris recorded assists.

“In the beginning we fell into the trap of trying to take it right down the middle, which was where their defense was set up,” Angelo said. “We started passing and moving, give and go’s, and getting the ball wide. Eventually we were going to break them down. We were going to just keep running right at them.”

Weir continued to dictate the game and control possession until adding another goal late. Gianni found Isabella Aperfine with a pass, and she buried the ball for a 4-0 lead with a little more than 10 minutes to play. The Red Riders cruised into the next round, where the opponent will be Wheeling Central at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Wheeling Jesuit University.

“In the second half we started taking shots more towards the corners instead of looking at the goalie and shooting at her,” Angelo said. “She’s a good athlete, she can move and she can catch. If you don’t put the ball in the corners she’s going to save them all, and that’s what she did. She did a good job tonight. On the sidelines we talked to them and told them to keep their heads up and just be patient.”

The Red Riders bounced back from a disappointing 9-0 defeat at Wheeling Park last Thursday.

“We better have come back from that,” Angelo said. “When you get beat like that you’ve got to come back and play and we did.”