WHEELING - Two Brooke graduates will lead their teams in quest of a title Monday night.
Lee Weppler will lead the Brooke girls' soccer team into the OVAC Cup Tournament at 5:30 p.m. at Wheeling Island Stadium against Linsly. The Cadets are coached by Erica Hall, who spent time as head coach of the Bruins before taking over the head coaching duties at Linsly.
The third-seeded Bruins (10-3-1) advanced to the tournament final by defeating No. 2 seed Wheeling Park, 2-1 (5-3 in shootout), in the first semifinal Saturday morning.
"Linsly is a good team," Weppler said. "We played them earlier in the year. They are centrally talented. They hold possession. They are well coached."
Linsly, the No. 4 seed, advanced to the final game by defeating top-seeded Morgantown, 1-0, in Saturday's second semifinal matchup. The Mohigans won the tournament title last year, beating Brooke 3-0.
"We came out in the first half, and we did not play the way we are capable of," Hall said. "We did not play with composure. I asked if them if they had scored, and they said, 'No.'
"I told them we could play better. We played better in the second half than we did in the first half."
Morgan Brunner netted the lone goal to give the Cadets a 1-0 advantage with 29:01 left to play in the game.
"It is always fun playing against Erica," Weppler said. "Erica is a big part of our program. She is a former player and a former coach. It's fun to play against her, and I'm sure it is fun for her. She enjoys playing against her alma mater."
Hall said she is looking forward to going against the Bruins in the final.
"We have done it before," she said. "Brooke has a lot of speed. They have a lot of heart. They play aggressive. It is going to be a great game."
The Cadets are looking to deliver a better performance this time around.
"The first time we played, we didn't play up to our potential, and they made us pay," said Hall.
There was also a coaching connection in the Linsly-Morgantown game. The Mohigans are coached by Ashley Neal, a graduate of Linsly.
Michaela Hinerman netted a goal for the Bruins in the first half against the Patriots to put Brooke out in front, 1-0. The goal was the only one Brooke scored prior to the shootout.
In the shootout, Shelby Cronin, Jesse Wayne, Leila Hannaoui, Cheyenne Hudson and Lauren Altobell all tallied goals for the Bruins.
Hudson assisted on Hinerman's goal.
The victory over the Patriots allowed the Bruins to even up the season series, though Saturday's game might not be the last time the two teams meet on the pitch this season.
"We played them earlier in the year," Weppler said. "They beat us 1-0. We also scrimmaged them. There is a good chance we will see them again in sectionals.
"We love playing Wheeling Park. They have a great coach. They have a great group of girls. It's always a great game. It was a physical game. It was a fun game.
"I'm glad we came out on the winning side.
"I think there will be some early game jitters (on Monday). I think it will take the first five minutes for them to settle into the game. It is a great opportunity.
"I want them to just relax and have fun.
"We had a great crowd today. We have gotten great support all year. I told the girl to enjoy it."