Crusaders, Blue Dons get thunderstruck on Thursday

WEIRTON – The Weirton Madonna and Central Catholic girls soccer teams each struck twice on Thursday.

Lightning, however, struck multiple times causing a delay. Rain starting to fall and a storm continued to roll in, forcing the game to end in a 2-2 draw.

“Because we were running out of daylight, we had a good idea we were not going to play,” said Madonna coach Bob Kolanko. “We let them relax a little bit. So, there really wasn’t much of a reason to keep them loose.

“There’s no way of trying to get it in this late in the season.”

The Blue Dons (8-5-1) led 2-1 with around eight minutes left in regulation. After a Madonna corner kick, Central Catholic goaltender Moriah Vosteen made a save and punted it down field. Micca Mirabella ended up with the ball after a Sydney Huff pass and she beat the defense, striking one into the net just as lightning struck from the sky.

“It kind of reminded me of the movie ‘The Natural,'” Crusaders coach Dave LaRue said. “As soon as she shot it, the lightning went off and the referee stopped the game.”

Mirabella’s moment could’ve rivaled Roy Hobbs’ home run into the light stand, but her season is worthy of a Hollywood script, too.

“She’s been working hard up there as a forward,” LaRue said. “I think she’s finally getting done what she needs to do to be successful.”

Mirabella, a senior, also scored in the first half off an assist from Ana McNamara. For the past two years, Mirabella has been a stopper on the Central Catholic defense. Maria Boston, the leading scorer from the past two seasons, has missed most of the season with injuries. Plus, coming into the year, the Crusader defense graduated three seniors.

“We kind of re-invented our defense and needed Micca to step up on offensive,” LaRue said. “We’re liking what we’re seeing from her.”

She scored again in the first half, but the goal was negated on an offsides call.

After Madonna’s 8-1 loss to Brooke in an OVAC quarterfinal, Kolanko changed his team’s attack, too.

“I challenged the girls to be much more aggressive in the middle of the field and win the 50-50 balls and to challenge every play,” he said.

“We were 75 percent on the 50-50 balls, so I was proud of that effort.”

Rachel Grubbs scored twice for the Blue Dons with assists from Christina Conforti and Hannah Bargar.

“From that perspective,” Kolanko said, “we probably played better (on Thursday) than we have in the past three weeks.”

The Crusaders out-shot the Blue Dons, 25-19. Tessie Tokash made nine saves for Madonna, while Vosteen had seven Central Catholic.

Central Catholic (5-5-3) faces Big Red on Saturday for the city championship. Madonna plays Brooke on Tuesday.