WELLSBURG - At the end of 80 minutes of soccer action between the Weir Red Riders and the Brooke Bruins Tuesday, one coach felt like his team missed a chance to get a win while the other saw his squad grow up in front of his eyes during the 1-1 tie.
"We had some bad luck," said Weir head coach Joe Pepe. "We had plenty of opportunities, especially in the second half, say the last 30 minutes we were all over the goal.
"It could have been four or five to one, but lady luck just wasn't with us this time."
SLIDE TACKLE — Weir’s Josh Groves slides in to knock the ball away from Brooke’s Trent Radcliffe at the Brooke Athletic Complex Tuesday. The Red Riders and the Bruins played to a 1-1 tie.
-- Fred Younce
Added Brooke head coach Brian Cerullo, "I think we grew a lot tonight. This was the best game we played all year. I'm pleased with the game we played and we need to carry it over next week. We have (Wheeling ) Park next."
In the end they were both proud of their teams' efforts.
"Like I said, this is definitely the best game we've played all season," said Cerullo. "Everything started to come together today. I was pleased with our goalie and our defense.
"Weir came out and attacked really hard in that second half and we held up for 35 minutes, we just needed 40 to get the win."
Added Pepe, "This team has a lot of character. They're all friends and they all get along well. They know if someone is having a bad game then someone else is in their trying to pick each other up.
"I can't say enough about this team with our assistant coaches Milan Martich and George Barney. They've been working hard with the kids. It's just one of those things. It would have been nice to come away with the win, but you can't take anything away from Brooke.
"Any time Weir and Brooke plays, anytime Weir and Oak Glen plays, every time any of us plays there's that fire burning."
The Bruins struck with the game's first goal at the 28:35 mark of the first half. Doug Hardsouk played the ball out wide to James Harrick who lasered a shot from the right side past Weir goalie Matt Tenaglio into the left side of the net for the 1-0 Brooke lead.
"It was a miscommunication on our part, and we put that behind us after the goal," said Pepe. "The defense played extremely well. Everybody picked it up."
Added Cerullo, "We worked on putting the ball where we can make the keeper nervous and make the defense nervous.
"I'm not sure if there was confusion or not, but we found the back of the net on the shot. We'll take it."
That was the last time a shot beat Tenaglio, who ended up with eight saves. Weir had opportunities to tie in the first half with none better than penalty kick less than a minute after the Bruins goal. Shane Davis blasted a shot to the left, but Zachary Ciccolella, who saved 13 shots on the evening, dove and made the save.
With the score still 1-0 Brooke, Weir kept a consistent attack on the Bruins in the second half, but each time, whether by Ciccolella save or shots going wide or high, Brooke was able to maintain its thin lead.
"The second half we came out and played like we should have been playing," said Pepe. "If you saw how we missed the goals, a foot high or a foot over here, it was just one of those things."
Added Cerullo of his goaltender, "He was an animal today. He's been stepping up all year, and today he was pretty untouchable."
Then the Red Riders' broke through on a corner kick with under five minutes in the game. Alex Hannah sent the ball to the front of the net, Josh Groves played it off his foot to Ryan Duke who knocked it into the right side of the net off the bounce to tie the game at 1-all with 4:33 left.
Weir (7-1-1) hosts St. Clairsville Thursday.