Weir girls ride strong first half to victory over Brooke

SHOOTING — Weir High’s Nina Cassini takes a shot past Brooke’s Nadia Edwards on Tuesday. (Photo by Joe Catullo)

WEIRTON — No matter the sport and no matter the records, it is always a big game whenever Weir High plays Brooke.

Tuesday’s girls soccer game at Jimmy Carey Stadium was no exception, as both teams looked forward to and were excited about playing each other.

Once the game started, the Red Riders gained control early on and did not look back, en route to a 7-1 victory.

“We had a couple of opportunities early, and we were able to put them away,” Weir (4-5) head coach Jeremy Angelo said. “We put the shots away, not Brooke. We built on the momentum from there.

“We are halfway through the season. We are passing better. The girls are working for each other. They are talking better. Things are better now than they were in August, but the goal is to be better in October than we are in both of these months.”

The Red Riders recorded the first four goals of the game and took a 5-1 lead at halftime.

“We came out flat,” Brooke (2-8) head coach Elias Hannaoui said. “They scored really quickly, and then they added the second and then third. They came ready to play. We did not show up in the first half.

“The second half was better. We had some chances, but we kept missing. Then, they were able to get a counterattack and score. They scored two goals in the second half after scoring five in the first half.”

Megan Cramer and Bella Aperfine each finished with two goals and an assist to lead the way for Weir. Julia Gianni and Sierra Huey each scored a goal and netted an assist, Skyla Hirkala collected a goal and Nina Cassini contributed an assist.

Weir used two goalies. Alexis Adams started and made one save. She was replaced by Alexis Vuiller in the second half, who made two saves.

“Their senior (Gianni) is very creative,” Hannaoui said. “She is a smart player. We tried to mark her, but she’s unstoppable. Her creativity is hard to defend.

“In the second half, we did better. I am proud of how we played in the second half. The first half was our worst start of the season. I hope in our next game Thursday we will not have as bad of a start.”

Madison Platt tallied the lone goal for Brooke. The goal was unassisted.

The Bruins also used two goalies. Natalie Slivtka started, and she made three saves. Meggan Gilchrist did not make a save.

“I looked, and I saw they had five freshmen starting,” Angelo said. “They have a lot of youth. They played hard. They did not give up. They kept battling. We were up 4-0, and they got that opportunity and they were able to put it in before we went up 5-1. We were able to control the game. We were able to pass the ball more.”

Gianni opened the scoring with 37:27 remaining in the first half, and Cramer tallied her two goals around a goal by Huey to make it 4-0.

Platt scored to pull the Bruins to within 4-1 with 12:11 left in the half, but the Red Riders responded 25 seconds later when Hirkala scored to make the score 5-1.

“The girls were excited to play,” Hannaoui said. “The girls know each other. It is a big rivalry. The girls were looking forward to playing this game. The girls practice and play together in the spring. We always look forward to playing this game.”

Aperfine produced both of her goals in the second half.

“Both towns are close by,” Angelo said. “It is not a city championship, but it is a big rivalry. They are in AAA, and we are in AA. We are both in the same class in the OVAC. It is not a bitter rivalry. They were not out there trying to hurt or kill each other.

“Brooke was a team in West Virginia that was feared for a number of years. They have been down for the last couple of years, but they will not be done for long. They will be back up there. He has got a lot of youth, and they will have more coming up next year. Brooke will be back. It will be the same old Brooke. Teams won’t want to play them.”

Weir is scheduled to play at 5 p.m. today at Catholic Central at the Tony Recinella Soccer Field. Catholic Central and Edison had a big rivalry going when Angelo was the head coach of the Wildcats.

“Oh yeah,” Angelo said. “I know they are down this year. We are going to go over there and try to control the ball and try to get some other girls some experience, but you never know what can happen. We are going to go over there and play hard. You never know what is going to happen.”

Brooke is slated to play St. Clairsville at 6 p.m. Thursday at Red Devil Stadium.