Brooke wears OVAC crown
WHEELING – Brooke brought the trophy back to Brooke County for the fourth time.
Senior standout Michaela Hinerman netted two goals to lead the Brooke girls’ soccer team to a 2-0 victory over Linsly in the OVAC Cup Tournament final Monday night at Wheeling Island Stadium.
“It feels good,” Brooke (11-3-1) head coach Lee Weppler said. “I am proud of the girls. I can’t say enough about their heart, their hard work and how they practice. They pay attention to detail. I give them all of the credit. They are tough. They are a great group of girls.”
The victory gave the Bruins their fourth OVAC Cup Tournament title and second under Weppler’s guidance. Weppler guided Brooke to the title in 2009, one year after it won the title under head coach Jerod Hall.
Brooke’s first tournament title came in 1996. Peter Veltri was the head coach of the Bruins that year. Brooke’s victory under Veltri enabled the Bruins to win the second cup tournament title.
Wheeling Park won the first one. After the Bruins’ title, the Patriots won 12 straight titles before the Bruins captured the tournament title under Hall.
Brooke controlled the 2013 championship game from the opening kick.
“They play a different style of soccer than we do, and they make teams play a different style than they want to play,” Linsly (10-5-1) head coach Erica Hall said.
“The Brooke girls came ready to play. They were ready to win. Give credit to my girls as well. They played hard. They didn’t quit. It was a well-deserved win.”
Hall is a former player and coach at Brooke.
“We talked,” Weppler said. “We are close. She is a great coach. She has established a winning program. She did a good job here. I came into an established program.”
Hinerman netted a goal in each half.
“It means a lot,” Hinerman said about winning the tournament title. “It is great to do it as a senior. It means a lot.”
Hinerman’s first goal came less than six minutes into the match. Dynah Sayre sent the ball to the far side of the goal to an open Hinerman, who knocked the ball into the net to put the Bruins out in front, 1-0 with 34:39 left in the first half.
“That was a good thing,” Weppler said. “That was big. The longer you go without scoring your confidence drops a little. Scoring early was big for us. It got the ball rolling in our favor.”
While the Bruins did not net another goal in the first half, they kept the pressure on the Cadets throughout the first 40 minutes.
Brooke continued to dominate in the second half as Hinerman netted an insurance goal less than 10 minutes into the stanza. Hinerman crossed the ball into the penalty box where it was inadvertently knocked into the net by a Cadet defender.
“It is a lot easier to play with a lead,” Weppler said. “We got the lead, and then we were able to close the door.”
The Bruins outshot the Cadets, 17-4.
Brooke’s Payge Farrmer made three saves. Linsly’s Vivian Allison made nine saves.
Even with a two-goal lead and the time ticking off of the clock, the Bruins continued to apply pressure on the Cadets. Brooke did not go into a defensive mode.
“The girls had a lot of confidence,” Weppler said. “They had a great first touch. That is a thought that crosses your mind, but as I coach, my thought is if it is not broke don’t fix it. I did not want us to change our shape. We were playing well. We played well for three games. They played as hard as we have been playing.”
The Patriots’ goal came on a penalty kick in the second half.
“We did not give up a good goal in the tournament,” Weppler said. “I can’t say enough about our defense. We have a great defense, and it all starts at the forward level and not in the back. We play great defense at all levels. We play great defense with attacking third, our middle third and our defensive third. Our middle third is playing great. They have it locked down. They are relentless. They win the 50/50 balls. That is a great help.”
Linsly, the No. 4 seed, defeated top-seeded and two-time defending champion Morgantown, 1-0, in the semifinals Saturday.
The Mohigans are coached by Ashley Neal, who played soccer at Linsly. Erica Hall guided the Cadets to their lone tournament title in 2010.
Monday’s game was the second meeting between the Bruins and Cadets this season.
“I don’t think so,” Erica Hall said asked if Brooke did anything different in Monday night’s game. “Their girls run through everything. They play aggressive, and they did again today.
“They were the better team today.”
Weppler said the Cadets made a shape change.
“They changed their shape a little bit,” he said. “They moved No. 10 (Maleha Kureishy) out of the middle and into an attacking position. We handled it well. We changed up on the fly. We adjusted.
“It was a great game. Give our defense a lot of credit. They shut them down. They played tremendously.”
Brooke welcomes Edison at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Linsly’s next game is at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Wheeling Park.
“We play in the Play for Cancer Game against Wheeling Park Thursday,” Erica Hall said. “It is a nice game to have.”
This was the final year of the cup tournament. Next year, each of the three classes will have a tournament to decide the class champion.
“I played at Brooke, but we never got it here on the big stage with the crowd and playing under the lights,” said Weppler.
“Our crowd was fantastic again tonight. It has been great all year. We hope the support continues throughout the rest of the year.
“They have supported us greatly this year.”