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Brooke breaks things open to top CCHS

KICK ACROSS — Catholic Central’s Daniel Bolster prepares to boot the ball in front of Brooke’s Jeg Hilt during Monday’s match at Brooke Memorial Stadium. -- Andrew Grimm

WELLSBURG — Brooke capitalized on its chances against Catholic Central.

The match was scoreless for nearly 29 minutes before the Bruins found the back of the net against the Crusaders, and the Bruins tacked on four more goals en route to a 5-0 victory Monday night on Paul “Bud” Billiard Field inside Brooke Memorial Stadium.

Eddie Marks recorded a hat trick and an assist to lead the way for the Bruins.

“It seems like we are slow starters,” Brooke (6-3) head coach Joe Pepe said. “We were able to control the ball for most of the game. We did very well. We just have to get these kids to take more shots.

“Take nothing away from Steubenville Catholic Central. They are a good team. Coach (Steve) Kopcha always has a good team. He always has a competitive team.”

“We can’t play defense for 80 minutes, but it seems like the majority of the time we are playing on the defensive end,” Catholic Central (3-3-1) head coach Steve Kopcha said. “We are struggling to create offense. That is something we are going to continue to work on and develop. Naturally, it is coming slower than we would like it to.

“You have to give credit to our defense. They are playing as hard as they can. It is because of them we were staying in the game as long as we did. We had an opportunity early, and we put wide. We have to capitalize on our chances. We are not scoring goals right now.”

Evan Urso and Elijah Freeman each netted a goal for the Bruins. Also for the victors, Dylan Black, Devin Cipoletti, Jeg Hilt and Javier Fente deMendoza all tallied an assist.

“They have got a couple talented kids in Marks and (Ben) Ferguson,” Kopcha said. “They are both talented. Marks showed that today with the three goals. It is good to score goals and to play with the lead and to control the game.

“Brooke is well coached. They are very talented. They were able to control the game.”

Both teams used two goalies.

Jeremy Gilchrist started in goal for Brooke and made nine saves. He was replaced during the second half by K.J. Ward, who made one save.

Michael Duff started in the net for the Crusaders, and he finished with nine saves. Duff was replaced during the second half by Jacob Kissinger, who made two saves.

“I did not know what to expect,” Pepe said. “They are the one team I have not seen. They are always a good team. They are an aggressive team. They don’t quit. They only time when they quit is when the final whistle sounds.

“I’m very proud of the kids. We were coming off of a loss to Wheeling Park. We took it on the chin. We made some young mistakes. I am proud of the kids. We are going to keep playing as long as the dear Lord allows us to play and everyone stays healthy.”

Brooke scored two goals in the first half before adding three more in the second half.

“We communicated,” Pepe said about why his team was able to control the ball. “We talked amongst ourselves, and we moved the ball and we were able to possess the ball.”

Marks opened the scoring with his first goal with 11:20 left to play before halftime giving the hosts a 1-0 lead. Urso then scored almost three minutes later when he scored off a cross with 8:22 remaining in the first half. Marks scored the first two goals of the second half before Freeman capped the scoring with his team’s fifth goal.

“We needed this game,” Pepe said. “If you look at the OVAC standings, we were in fourth coming into today. Morgantown has not reported all of its scores. They are 5-3, and we were 5-3. It is going to be a tough bracket in 5A. New Philly is not a cakewalk.

“We just have to stay focused. We just have to keep doing what we are doing.”

Thursday is the cutoff for teams to qualify for the annual conference tournament.

The Crusaders entered the day in second place in the Class 1A/3A standings.

Catholic Central is scheduled to play Edison at 6 p.m. tonight on the road.

Brooke is slated to play Weir at 6 p.m. tonight at Jimmy Carey Stadium.

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