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Madonna girls defeat Harrison Central, 3-1

WEIRTON — The Madonna and Harrison Central girls soccer teams combined to take 27 shots in their match. The Blue Dons netted the first two goals and added a late penalty kick to hold on and defeat the Huskies, 3-1, Wednesday evening at the J.C. Williams Soccer Complex.

“It was an even game,” Madonna (2-0-3) head coach Bob Kolanko said. “We put a lot of pressure on them in the first 15-20 minutes. Getting the early goal was really good for us. We have had a hard time scoring. Getting the early lead was big for us.”

Harrison Central got off to a little bit of a slow start but quickly picked up its level of play and battled for the final 74 minutes of the match.

“I feel like we had the better of the possession,” Harrison Central (1-5-2) head coach Mindy Madzia said. “It has been rough. We lost our center-back defender. We are battling and learning to play without her back there. It was a great team effort. We have been working on crossing, finishing and getting a lot of shots. The final score does not reflect how hard the girls worked and how much effort they put into the game.”

Angelina Spickard produced a pair of goals for the Blue Dons, while Isabella Pulice tallied one. Olivia Bine contributed an assist. Abby Macek made nine saves in goal.

Macek, the team’s leader in the back, made some key saves to keep the hosts in the lead.

“Abby always does that,” Kolanko said. “She is one of the strongest goalkeepers around. She makes up for a lot of mistakes in the back. If they get past our defense, I believe Abby will make the save.”

Lexi Smith netted the lone goal for Harrison Central off of an assist by Jenna Easlick. Britton Positano made nine saves.

“We couldn’t get one into the net,” Madzia said. “We just couldn’t finish. Our goalie works really hard. She made some great saves.”

Positano made a couple of key saves to keep the visitors in the game right up until the final whistle blew.

“Their goalkeeper played a really solid game,” Kolanko said. “We did not get anything past her than should not have gotten past her. She was big in there. She forced us to take shots where we tried to be too perfect. She is a quality goalkeeper.”

Spickard opened the scoring with her first goal about six minutes into the game. Spickard’s shot was perfectly placed into the lower corner. Positano made a diving effort, but she was unable to keep the ball out of the net, as Madonna took a 1-0 lead.

Madonna took another perfectly-placed shot into the lower corner for the Blue Dons to extend their advantage to 2-0 about 24 minutes later. This time, Pulice’s shot just got past a diving Positano and into the corner of the net.

“This was only the second time we have ever played Harrison Central,” Kolanko said. “We were not able to scout them this year due to COVID-19 and such. We did not not have many expectations for them because they are so new to us. She is doing a good job. She has a huge program. They have a lot of kids. That is nice to see.”

The Huskies responded when Smith knocked one into the back of the net past Macek to pull Harrison Central to within 2-1 with a little more than two minutes remaining left in the first half.

The score remained 2-1 until Spickard delivered an insurance goal on a penalty kick, making the score 3-1 in the final minutes of the match.

“A 2-1 lead is not safe,” Kolanko said. “They kept pushing hard. Angelina took that penalty kick, and the shot hit off the post after it hit off the hand of their goalkeeper. That was a big relief for us when it went into the net.”

Trailing by two goals, the Huskies did not quit, and Harrison Central continued to push forward. However, the clock was not on their side and time soon expired, ending the game.

“We play a lot of big schools,” Madzia said. “We are holding our opponents to under five goals a game. I think that is a good accomplishment, especially after losing our center-back. She got her in the Big Red game. We played St. Clairsville and Beaver Local, and we held them to three goals each. We are growing. We are learning. We have a big team. The girls on the bench are engage. It doesn’t matter if they are in the game or not.”

The game was the first of three games this week for the Blue Dons. Madonna is scheduled to play rival Catholic Central at 5:30 p.m. today on the Tony Recinella Soccer Field at the Michael Carapellotti Crusader Sports Complex.

Madonna’s game today at Catholic Central will be the two teams last game before today’s cutoff to qualify for the OVAC tournament. Madonna entered its game against Harrison Central ranked third in the Class 1A/3A standings behind Linsly and Catholic Central. Wheeling Central is fourth.

Madonna will cap off the week by playing Weir High in the annual city championship game at noon Saturday inside Jimmy Carey Stadium.

Harrison Central is schedule to play Ridgewood at 11 a.m. Saturday at home.

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