100 minutes later
WHEELING – Brooke deserved the result it got.
With the score deadlocked at 1 after 90 minutes of play, the OVAC Cup Tournament semifinal between the Brooke and Wheeling Park girls’ soccer teams was decided by a shootout.
The Bruins shot and scored first, and Brooke’s No. 5 shooter and backup goalie Lauren Altobell tallied the game-ending goal enabling the Bruins to edge the Patriots, 2-1 (5-3 in the shootout), Saturday morning at Wheeling Island Stadium.
“It was a great game,” Brooke (10-3-1) head coach Lee Weppler said. “You hate to see it come down to PKs, especially when you have two teams playing so well.
“You hate to see it deciding PKs, but with how well both teams were playing defense, it could have taken all day to decide the winner.
“We are happy to get the victory. Both teams played their hearts out today.”
Brooke, the No. 3 seed, will face No. 4 Linsly (10-4-1) in the tournament final at 5:30 p.m. Monday night on the same turf. Linsly defeated No. 1 seed Morgantown, 1-0, in Saturday’s second semifinal matchup.
The loss was a hard one for the second-seeded Patriots to swallow.
“This is the fourth year in a row we lost because of a referee error,” Wheeling Park (9-5) head coach Aubrey Taylor said. “It affected our game.”
In the shootout, Brooke senior Shelby Cronin, who is one the team’s four captains, took the first penalty kick, and her shot beat Wheeling Park goalie Devyn Nickerson to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead.
Jordan Miller was the first shooter for the Patriots, but her shot bounced harmlessly off of the crossbar and the ball bounced back onto the field keeping the score 1-0.
Brooke junior Jesse Wayne also scored to put the Bruins in front, 2-0. Wheeling Park’s second shooter, Evan Robinson, buried her shot into the net to pull the Patriots to within 2-1.
Freshman Leila Hannaoui was the third shooter for the Bruins. This is where things got interesting to say the least. Hannaoui missed her kick, but due to a violation she was given a second chance. Given a new life, Hannaoui took her second shot, but she missed for a second time.
For the second time, Hannaoui walked away dejected as the Patriots celebrated, but as Lee Corso might say, “Not so fast my friend.”
Another violation resulted in yet another opportunity for Hannaoui. This time, the third time was the charm, or so everyone thought.
Hannaoui scored on her third shot, but it was ruled Nickerson was not ready even though the referee signaled for Hannaoui to shoot. The assistant referee was talking to Nickerson after the second attempt, and she was not set for the third kick.
As a result, Hannaoui had to take her shot for the fourth time.
After all of that, Hannaoui fired a shot past Nickerson and this time it counted to put the Bruins up 3-1.
“I was impressed with that young lady,” Weppler said. “She is only a freshman. She missed her first one, but she stepped right back up there. She missed the second one, but she made the third and then the fourth ones. That’s impressive.
“That is hard because the goalie has a good idea of where you are trying to place the ball. I give her a lot of props. She stepped up and capitalized on her opportunity.”
Taylor and the Patriots were not happy with what transpired.
“The calls by the referee put our keeper under pressure,” he said. “She had to face four shots. It was given to them by the refs.”
Valerie Julian kicked third for the Patriots, and she scored to pull Wheeling Park to within, 3-2.
Sophomore Cheyenne Hudson was the fourth kicker for Brooke, and just like the three girls before her Hudson delivered a goal to give Brooke a 4-2 advantage.
After Hudson’s goal, the game rested on the shoulders of Wheeling Park’s Carly Collins. If she scored, the shootout would continue. If she missed, the game was over.
She scored to make it 4-3 to extend the shootout to the fifth kicker.
“The pressure is the same for both,” Taylor said. “The keeper has to figure out where the PK shooter is going to place the ball. The shooter has to figure out how to get the ball past the keeper.
Altobell, who was inserted into the game with less than three minutes left into the second five-minute overtime period, scored and the Bruins’ celebration began.
“We have put her in there during practice,” Weppler said. “She enjoys being in there. She enjoyed the moment. She did a good job. She took advantage of her opportunity today.”
Including the five shots in the shootout, the Bruins outshot the Patriots, 21-12. Brooke took 12 shots on goal, while Wheeling Park took 11.
Brooke dominated the first half as the Bruins outshot the Patriots, 11-2. Brooke held Wheeling Park with a shot for more than the first 30 minutes of the game.
“We played better in the first half,” Weppler said. “We were able to hold possession. We had opportunities. Their keeper is tough. She played extremely well.
“We got called for a handball, and they were able to score their goal. It was a great game. Both teams played with everything they had.”
Taylor saw things a little different.
“We created more chances,” he said. “We had more opportunities. We could have scored more. We have to make those goals.”
Senior Michaela Hinerman, another of Brooke’s four captains, scored a goal late in the first half off of an assist by Hudson to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead 2:38 before halftime.
“They didn’t really do anything different,” Taylor said. “They did what we expected. We expected them to play the ball forward. They have strikers up top that they wanted to run at us. They didn’t do anything we didn’t expect.”
Brooke held the lead the lead for more than 23 minutes.
Midway through the second half, the Patriots were able to get the ball deep on the Bruins’ end of the field. The ball ended up in the penalty box in front of the goal. Wheeling Park was able to get off a couple of shots and the ball bounced around like a pinball before it ended up hitting the hand of a Brooke defender.
Wheeling Park was awarded a penalty kick, and Mikia Mueller converted the kick to tie the score at 1 with 19:08 left to play in regulation.
“It is something we worked on,” Weppler said about how he decided who would be his team’s shooters in the shootout. “We talked about it. We practiced it.
“When you go to two five-minute overtime periods, there is a pretty good chance the game is going to go to penalty kicks.
“Our girls were mentally prepared. They stepped up when it counted.
“You have to give their keeper credit. She played well.”
Payge Farmer started in goal for the Bruins. She made six saves before being relieved by Altobell, who did not make a save.
Nickerson made six saves for the Patriots.
“We had an idea who are five shooters were going to be,” Weppler said. “Some of the girls, you could see the confidence in their eyes, and we wanted them to shoot early. Some of the girls who might not have been as confident, we wanted them to shoot later when there was less pressure.
“Our first shooter, she went right up and knocked it in. She is confident. She is who we wanted to shoot first.”