WHEELING - What's been an exciting matchup in recent years for girls high school soccer stayed true to form Tuesday night. Brooke and Wheeling Park squared off at Wheeling Stadium with the Bruins pulling out a 3-2 victory against the Patriots.
Brooke overcame a 1-0 halftime deficit to secure the victory.
"It was a great game," Brooke coach Lee Weppler said. "It was back and forth. Wheeling Park was able to jump out ahead early on a mistake we made in the back. We pushed forward, and we made the mistake. Wheeling Park was able to capitalize on it. After that, it was just back and forth. It was a gritty performance.
"Our girls are just a hard-working group of kids. All 11 of them. When they are on the field, they battle and never get their heads down. That just says a lot about the type of kids that me and my coaching staff have the pleasure of coaching right now. It is really fun right now."
The Bruins tied the game in the second half on a Cheyenne Hudson score. The Patriots answered right back with a score of their own, retaking the lead on a Briella Taylor penalty kick. Taylor, one of the captains for Wheeling Park, also had the first-half goal.
Hudson tied the game for a second time and, with about 11 minutes left, Brooke sophomore Leila Hannaoui buried a a penalty kick.
"It is a very tough loss," Patriots coach Luke Hladek said. "We had some up and down games against Brooke in the past, which has probably turned into our main rival. It is always rough to lose to them, especially this early in the season."
A rivalry indeed.
Last year, Wheeling Park and Brooke played in the semifinals of the OVAC Cup with Brooke taking the win. Brooke went on to win the 5A championship.
In the quarterfinals of the tournament during 2012 season, Brooke again was able to get the best of Wheeling Park 1-0.
"This is a huge rivalry," Weppler said. "Brooke/Wheeling Park has always been huge. It is a great rivalry because the kids respect one another as players, and it is always a dog fight that comes down to the last minute. We've probably seen them three times in the past three years, regular season, OVAC season and sectionals."
"I can't imagine we will not see them again either in OVAC's or the state playoffs," Hladek said. "We tend to see them a few times a year."
Wheeling Park's goal keeper, Nicole Conaway had seven saves while Brooke's Payge Farmer had five.
"We knew coming in that it was going to be pretty evenly matched," Hladek said. "It was a high intensity game, but we couldn't put that last one away."