Cronin and Altobel lead Brooke past Wheeling Park in sectional semifinal

WHEELING — It wasn’t necessarily luck that found Brookes Shelby Cronin and Lauren Altobell in the right place at the right time.

Brooke coach Lee Weppler had a different reason following Brookes 2-1 victory against Wheeling Park in the Class AAA, Region I, Section 1 soccer semifinal victory Monday at Wheeling Island Stadium.

“These girls have come up through the program and they are comfortable in the these situations,” Weppler said. “They’ve been in big games and won, they’ve been in big games and lost. They understand that when we attack the goal, we are a pretty tough team to beat. They were where they were supposed to be and that paid off for us.”

Two goals by being in the right spot — always on the the attack — were exactly the right combination the Bruins needed to beat Park in a tightly contested match.

Cronin connected first, when a shot bounced off a defender back to the senior who directed the ball promptly into the back of the net with 2:02 remaining in the first half.

The lead doubled when Altobell found herself in the same position on the other end. She directed a deflected ball into the corner of the net to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead.

Park wasn’t without its own opportunities, the most notable when Briella Taylor had the ball out in front of the Bruins defense with a 1-on-1 chance against Brooke goalie Payge Farmer. Except offsides was called.

Finally, Taylor got her goal, with 15:56 remaining to cut the Bruins seemingly safe lead to a single goal.

More opportunities followed, and Park kept the pressure on to the end, when Farmer retrieved a lose ball, and, with the final seconds ticking off, rolled it to a teammate. Park’s Mikia Mueller nearly stepped in front of it for a wide open shot attempt. But Brooke was able to clear it to win the game.

“It’s disappointing because we had opportunities to score and we just couldn’t capitalize on those opportunities, Park coach Aubrey Taylor said. I thought we did a good job of controlling the game for the most part. We just didn’t finish when we had the chance.”

Brooke (16-3-2) which had 13 shots in the game, moves on to face Parkersburg South, a 1-0 winner against Parkersburg, on Wednesday at South.

“That’s been our goal, Weppler said. “We haven’t been to a section final in a long time. It’s a big win for us. We got a couple of opportunities and we took advantage of them, and against a good team like Wheeling Park you have to take advantage of any chance you get. We were in the right place at the right time because we kept attacking.”

Both Farmer and Park keeper Devyn Nickerson were credited with three saves.

Park (9-7) attempted five shots in the game.

“Our offense was set up to score goals, we just didn’t do that tonight, although we had opportunities,” Taylor said. “Brooke did a good job against us.”