Weir girls hang on to city championship
WEIRTON — The coveted trophy will remain with Weir High for another year.
Julia Gianni netted a hat trick, leading the Weir girls soccer team to a 5-0 win over city-rival Madonna Tuesday evening at Jimmy Carey Stadium to claim the city championship.
“It means a lot to the girls,” Weir (3-3) head coach Jeremy Angelo said. “It means a lot to both teams. Both teams played hard. Today, we were able to come away with the win. It was a good game.
“Both teams had chances in the first half. Julia scored on our one good chance, and Alexis (Adams) made the save on their one good chance. We made some adjustments in the second half. We moved people around, and that made a big difference.”
Weir led 1-0 at halftime, but the Red Riders erupted for four goals in the second half to pull away.
“It was not a pretty game,” Madonna (1-6) head coach Bob Kolanko said. “We made too many mistakes. We passed the ball more to them than we did ourselves. The amount of turnovers we had was ridiculous. Some girls played their hearts out today. Other girls did not play at all.”
Bella Aperfine finished with a goal and two assists to help Weir’s cause, while Sierra Huey recorded a goal. Adams made five saves in goal.
Abby Macek made six saves in goal for the Blue Dons.
Weir now is 2-0 in city championship games under Angelo.
“Both teams lost a lot from last year,” Angelo said. “They lost four or five girls. We lost five or six girls. This year, we have a lot of girls who have not played a lot. It is different when you get subbed in and you only play for five or 10 minutes than when you are expected to play a whole half or a whole game. The girls are realizng what you have to do in those situations.
“We have more bodies than they do. If they had more bodies, it probably would have been a 4-3, 3-2 or 2-1 game.”
The Red Riders struck quickly in the first half. Aperine sent a ball through the Blue Don’s defense to Gianni, who fired a shot past Macek and into the net, giving Weir a 1-0 lead with 33:16 left before halftime.
“It was 1-0, and we gave them that goal,” Kolanko said. “We played the ball straight to them, and they took it down the field and scored. In the first half, we controlled the game. We played much better in the first half than we did in the second half. We gave them too many opportunities. We are just inconsistent.”
Gianni netted her second goal early in the second half, giving the Red Riders a 2-0 advantage with 35:54 remaining.
Madonna had a golden opportunity to pull within a goal, but it failed to capitalize on a penalty kick with 27:11 left to play. The ball sailed wide of the goal.
Aperfine increased Weir’s lead to 3-0 when she scored with 22:15 remaining on the clock.
Then, Gianni capped off her hat trick a little more than two minutes later to make the score 4-0.
“She has been the Blue Don killer for the last four years,” Kolanko said. “I told her after the game that this would be the last time I would have to shake her hand after a game. She is unbelievable. She knows how to play the game. At times, it looks like she is not putting forth a great amount of effort, but it is just because she knows where to be and knows what to do. She is smart with the ball. She knows where to mass the ball. She moves without the ball.”
Huey capped the scoring when she found the back of the net with 9:50 still showing on the clock.
“The last three practices, we have been working with our forwards and our midfielders,” Angelo said. “We have been working on shooting. One of the keys is shooting. On that one, Julia was 1-on-1. She broke through the defense, and she placed into the back of the net.”
The practice paid off in a big way in the second half.
“It is nice to see what you do in practice get done during games,” Angelo said. “We came out and did it. It is the same thing with our defense. We have been working on possessing the ball, moving the ball and passing the ball. We have worked on that the last four or five games.
“We only have one starter back in the back. We have three new people back there. It takes time for them to get acquainted and to use that stuff in games. We are building.”
Both teams face tough tests in their next games. Weir is scheduled to host Parkersburg South at 6 p.m. Thursday.
“It is going to be a good challenge for us,” Angelo said. “We are going to come out and play. We are going to have to play smart. We are going to have to play a lot of defense.”
Meanwhile, Madonna is scheduled to play Charleston Catholic at 7 p.m. Friday at Brooke in the Bishop Cup.
“They have been the No. 1 team in the state the last nine years,” Kolanko said.
Weir has now won three straight games after opening the season 0-3.
“We have gotten some players back,” Angelo said. “Faith (Riggle) did not play in our first three games. Nina Cassini was finally able to play. She is one of our foreign exchange students. We had others who could not play because of not having enough practices. We have gotten bodies back. The girls are getting more experience. The goal is to be better in October than you are in August.”
¯ Angelo and Kolanko coached against either when Angelo was at Edison.