Brooke girls come up big on senior night
WELLSBURG — The Brooke girls soccer team picked a good time to have what head coach Elias Hannaoui said was perhaps its best game of the season as the Bruins grabbed a 3-1 victory over Big Red on senior night at Brooke Memorial Stadium.
“We needed to come back (from Monday’s loss at Madonna) and get a win,” Hannaoui said. “We were due for a win. I can not think of a better opportunity to do it than on senior night. The girls played an awesome game. It was one of our best performances so far. I’m really proud of the girls.
“The biggest challenge for us is to continue to perform like this in the next game and moving forward.”
The Bruins (5-9-2) controlled most the of the play early in the game and had several quality chances denied by Big Red goalkeeper Zoe Nocera (13) before breaking through not once, but twice.
Brooklynn Mucheck scored from in close, putting a shot off Nocera and in 15:27 into the game, then 1:06 later Brooke Ohler made it 2-0 from range.
“We controlled the pace of the game,” Hannaoui said. “We controlled the ball. We challenged them and pressed them. I know (Big Red) had some injured players that weren’t able to help them, but (Wednesday) was our day.”
Big Red (8-7-1) started to get some chances late in the opening half, but could not get on the board before the break.
“Some of our key players are resting up and nursing some injuries to be ready for the tournament,” Big Red head coach Jared Robinson said. “It is good some of our young girls some experience so if the other girls aren’t ready to go for the tournament, we have some girls that have some experience and are ready to go for it
“Brooke is definitely an improved team. I knew it would be with coach Elias. He knows the game of soccer very well and he knows how to teach the game. I knew it was only a matter of time before they turned the program around.”
After some early looks in the second half would not go, Anastasia Crisante finally put Steubenville on the board with 21:14 left in the game, converting on a penalty kick to make it 2-1.
The Bruins, though, had an answer, as not even four minutes later Haley Martin connected to make it 3-1 and restore the two-goal lead. Bruins keeper Hannah Buterbaugh — who split time with Bailey Serevicz (five saves) in goal — made three saves to make it stand up.
“That was big because they were coming back,” Hannaoui said. “They started pushing strong and really came out strong in the second half. After we scored the third one I felt better. It was a perfect shot.”
For Robinson, the third goal felt like the backbreaker.
“It was tough,” he said. “I’m not sure what happened. Maybe our goalie’s sight was obstructed. It also looked like it took a weird bounce, I’m not really sure. I’m proud of the girls, I’m proud of their effort and the way that they fought.”
Big Red: Concluded its regular season and will host Morgan at 6 p.m. Monday.
Brooke: Finishes the season with three-straight road games, starting Saturday at Ripley.
(Grimm can be reached at email@example.com)