Blue Dons take early lead, but Brooke rallies for huge victory
WEIRTON – Brooke girls soccer players Michaela Hinerman and Lauren Altobel each took shots off the crossbar in the first three minutes of the Bruins’ game with Madonna on Tuesday.
Blue Dons Rachel Grubbs found the back of the net first.
“It was good to see the attack come out of our players,” said Madonna coach Bob Kolanko. “I liked the intensity from the start.”
It was the first time the Blue Dons had a lead on Brooke since 2008, according to Kolanko. It only lasted for eight more minutes as Kaitlin Govey caught the rebound of an Altobel shot and scored to even it up.
The Bruins added on later in the first half and even more in the second for a 6-1 win.
“The first half, we came out pretty flat and didn’t look like we were ready to play,” said Brooke coach Lee Weppler. “Weirton Madonna got the better half of us. They dictated play and possessed the ball on us.”
Off a Madonna defender, 24 minutes in, freshman Leila Hannoui gave the Bruins (13-3-1) their first lead that they’d hold on to. Hannoui scored again late in the fourth quarter to close the scoring.
“We’ve been down a couple of times, so we’re familiar and comfortable with it,” Weppler said. “These girls know they got to go out and play and get the ball moving in the right direction.
“Then things will fall into place.”
Sophomore Cheyenne Hudson scored shortly after taking a Blue Dons defender one-on-one for 10 yards before shaking off goaltender Tessie Tokash for the goal.
“If she gets space and time, she can finish,” Weppler said. “And she had that and capitalized on it.”
With two goals in less than two minutes, Kolanko pulled what he called a “wholesale substitution on defense.”
“I put in three non-defenders back there,” he said. “When we played as a team we held them in check for those final 15 minutes (of the first half).
“I tell them all the time, ‘You play better as a unit than you do as individuals.'”
Madonna dropped to 8-7-1.
“We improved a lot from the OVAC game with Brooke,” Kolanko said, referring to a 7-0 loss in the OVAC Cup quarterfinals at St. Clairsville on Sept. 26.
Hinerman attempted eight shots and scored 12 minutes in during the second half. Hudson and Hannoui also had second half goals. The Bruins had 24 shots on goal in the game.
For a senior night celebration at the J.C. Williams Soccer Complex, Weirton Madonna honored Alayna Macaluso, Shelby Kirk and Christina Conforti. Also, the Blue Dons recognized eight Brooke seniors by announcing their names and giving each girl a flower.
“They did it for us last year, which was very nice,” Kolanko said. “They’re as much a part of the soccer community here as anyone.”
Added Weppler, “We’re close. Acknowledging each others seniors is great to see. There’s a lot of healthy sportsmanship between these two teams.”
The Bruins play at Parkersburg Central on Thursday, while the Blue Dons travel to Glen Dale and face John Marshall on Saturday.
(Matthew Peaslee is a sports writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @thempeas Twitter account.)