Govey punches Brooke’s ticket to sectional final with hat trick

STOPPING MOMENTUM — Brooke’s Nick Cruny (31) plays the ball off his chest while Colin Hielman (12) watches during a Class AAA sectional matchup against John Marshall on Tuesday. (Photo by Joe Catullo)

WELLSBURG — After an early missed opportunity Brooke wasted little time taking control of Tuesday night’s West Virginia Class AAA Region 1 Section 1 soccer sectional against John Marshall.

Senior Konner Govey collected the first half hat trick as the Bruins scored seven goals in the initial 40 minutes and never looked back to record a convincing 8-1 victory over the Monarchs at Brooke Memorial Stadium.

With the win, coach Joe Pepe’s team will travel to Wheeling Island Stadium on Thursday at 6 p.m. to battle Wheeling Park for the Section 1 title. The Bruins and Patriots played to a 2-2 deadlock earlier this season.

“Park is a very well-coached team, and I know they will be ready to play,” Pepe said. “I have been here at Brooke for four years. I have been coaching for 35 years, and I have known (Wheeling Park coach) Mario (Julian) for 18 years, and he will have that team up for us.”

While the Bruins were the recipients of the first real break of the game, a penalty kick less than four minutes in, the attempt was wide to the left of the net, keeping the contest scoreless.

Brooke (9-11-1) did, however, also take advantage of the first break of the game when Govey stepped in front of a long pass and drilled it into the right corner of the net for a 1-0 lead eight minutes in.

Pepe’s squad added to the lead a short time later when Govey found junior Nick Cruny on a crossing pass in the middle of the field. Cruny’s 25-yard laser made it 2-0 at 26:28.

The Bruins needed just 15 seconds to push the count to 3-0 when sophomore Josh Ferguson stole the ball, sent it long downfield and Govey’s rocket once again found the net for his second goal of the half.

It continued to grow with Brooke senior Jacob Hinerman blasting a shot from the side that went off of keeper Jacob Varner’s hand and into net for a 4-0 score at the 20:59 mark.

“We practice PKs all the time, and usually we make them, but things happen,” Pepe said with a smile. “But I am very proud of how the kids didn’t let that get to them and they kept playing.

“The last time we played John Marshall they had a two-goal lead on us, and we battled back and won 4-2, so we definitely knew not to take them lightly. The goal was to get on the board first, stay ahead and play well.”

Junior Garrett Bernardini and senior Gage Barnhart each got into the act later in the half. Bernardini picked up a loose ball in the middle of the field and worked his way deep into the box before finding the net at 11:15. Barnhart followed off an assist from Ferguson less than a minute and a half later to make it 6-0.

The Monarchs (6-10-1) finally got into the scoring column just more than 33 minutes into the half when sophomore Dayne Bumgardner did a nice job working his way through traffic before finding Daniel Yoho across the middle. Yoho beat keeper Domenic D’Ulisse to cut it to 6-1.

Govey’s second attempt at a penalty kick late in the half proved much more successful than the first as he converted for the first half hat trick and a 7-1 cushion.

Hinerman’s second goal of the night, coming 27:36 into the second half, capped the scoring.

“We have been working very hard, and the kids have been stepping up,” Pepe said. “We have used a lot of freshmen, and everyone has been playing well for us.”

John Marshall coach Jesus Marin felt his team had chances early that could have made a difference.

“I felt like we started out very good,” Marin said. “We got off the first shot, had a chance to score and played very well for the first six or seven minutes. Unfortunately, things fell apart for us quickly after that, and when that happens your chance of winning usually goes by quickly also.”