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Weir girls retain city championship

CELEBRATING — The Weir High girls soccer team celebrates winning the city championship over Madonna on Wednesday. -- Joe Catullo

WEIRTON — All it took was one for Weir to win the crown.

Freshman Ava Taylor scored two minutes into the Weir girls soccer team’s annual city championship game against city-rival Madonna. That proved to be the only goal of the contest, as the Red Riders shut down the Blue Dons, 1-0, Wednesday evening at the J.C. Williams Soccer Complex.

“That’s it. All you need is one,” Weir (3-1-1) head coach Jeremy Angelo said.

Madonna (2-2) head coach Bob Kolanko did not expect only one goal to be scored.

“Who would have thought that two minutes in there would be a goal, and that would be the end of that? Certainly not me,” he said. “Both teams had a lot of opportunities. Both teams had good shots. It was all about the goalkeepers. The goalkeepers stepped up. This was for the city championship. We just had one slip-up two minutes in.

“Angelina Spickard did a phenomenal job at sweeper. If not for her, Weir would have had nine goals. Hats off to her.”

The victory gave Weir its fourth-straight city championship dating back to the 2016 season.

“Look at them,” Angelo said regarding what winning the city championship meant to his team. “They are excited. They are pumped. It is a rivalry. All the girls know each other. It is different when you play your buddy or your neighbor. Winning this game means something. You get bragging rights for the next year.”

Angelo has coached the Red Riders to their last three city championship victories. The 2015 game ended in a 2-2 tie after the Blue Dons netted two goals in the final five minutes to pull even.

“Oh yeah, they all feel the same,” Angelo said. “This was the toughest and closest score of the city championship games we have played so far.

“It was what we expected. We knew it was not going to be easy. Both teams gave a great effort. Both teams fought. It was a fight. It was a good game.”

Fellow freshman Julianna Gladowski assisted on Taylor’s goal to give the Red Riders the early lead in the latest rendition of the city championship game.

“We scored two minutes in, and that was it,” Angelo said. “There were no other goals. This was our first shutout.”

Alexis Adams made seven saves in goal for Weir.

“We watched them play against Edison, so we knew what they did,” Kolanko said. “They switched Ava and Julianna from side to side. Defensively, I thought we made the adjustment, but it kind of hurt us because we were in positions we were not used to being in. That is why they were able to control the first 10 to 15 minutes. After that, we realized what positions we were in, and we started to control the ball.

“Weir was much more aggressive. They attacked the ball harder than we did. I have to give them credit for that.”

Both teams had chances in the other 78 minutes, but Taylor’s goal ended up being the only one scored.

“They capitalized on that opportunity, and we did not capitalize on our opportunities,” Kolanko said. “The goalkeepers made the saves. I don’t know if we have scored on Alexis. Last year, she stopped all of our shots, and this year she stopped all of our shots.”

Abby Macek made 14 saves in goal for Madonna.

“We told the girls the last couple of days that this was the city championship game,” Angelo said. “It is a big deal. The girls came to play. It was intense. We told them to be ready for a fight. It was a fight. It was physical. It was a hard fought game. It was a good game. There was a nice crowd. It was a nice day.”

The last time Madonna captured the city championship crown was in 2014. The Blue Dons scored two goals in each half, en route to shutting out the Red Riders, 4-0, at Jimmy Carey Stadium.

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Madonna is scheduled to play Charleston Catholic at 5 p.m. Friday in Charleston in the annual Bishop’s Cup.

“It is tough, but we have to move on,” Kolanko said. “I told the girls once they leave this field they cannot look back. This game is over. We have to heal our wounds and mend our bruises. It was a physical game. There were some hard shots in the game whether they were called or not called. We don’t have time to dwell on this. We have to get right back up on the horse.”

Weir is scheduled to play rival Oak Glen at noon Saturday at home.

“We took one on the chin Saturday from Parkersburg South,” Angelo said. “We have a young team. We have freshmen who have never played before. We were able to come out and respond today. We gave a good effort.

“We did not pass the ball as well as I would have liked. We did not finish. We had a lot of opportunities to score but we did not finish. We were only able to score the one goal, but that is all we needed.”

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