Riders slip past Big Red

STEUBENVILLE – Weir’s winning streak continues.

Francesca Farran netted a goal in the first half to lead the Weir girls’ soccer team to a 1-0 victory over Big Red Tuesday night at Harding Stadium.

“It should have been 5-0,” Weir (12-5) head coach Jessica Naughton said. “The kids stuck with it. They never quit. They kept shooting. They kept getting chances. They did not give up. It is frustrating. As a player, I know it is frustrating, but we did not give up. That was nice to see. One goal was enough tonight.”

It was the Red Riders’ ninth straight victory.

“I want to play a hard schedule at the beginning of the year,” Naughton said. “That is why we play Park. That is why we play Brooke. Those are tough teams. The games are physical. We want that to carry over into the rest of our season. We have a rough beginning to our schedule, but we like it that way. We want to get them used to physical play. We have been on a roll, and we want that roll to carry over into our last three games heading into sectionals.”

Big Red battled until the end, but they were unable to find the back of the net.

“It was 1-0,” Big Red (6-6-1) head coach Jared Robinson said. “Jessica always has her team ready. I have known Jessica for a long time from the Force days to the Marland Heights days.

“I am proud of my girls and how they played. Weir is a good team, and we went toe-to-toe with them. They passed the ball. They moved the ball. They shot the ball. They did a good job on defense. We are just inconsistent with our finishing.

“Weir moves the ball well. They pass well. My girls gave 100 percent until the very end.

“Now, we are going to refocus on our goals and get ready for states.”

Alyssa Shingle assisted on Farran’s goal.

“Alyssa Shingle and Morgan Cassels stepped up tonight,” Naughton said. “They controlled the middle of the field. Their coach (Robinson) would agree. He kept yelling to his players to keep the ball away from No. 26 (Cassels) and No. 11 (Shingle). He told them to keep the ball out of the middle of the field. It is nice to have those two in the middle of the field.”

Shingle and Cassels helped the Red Riders control the ball for a good part of the game.

“I have got two excellent center midfielders,” Robinson said. “They were able to keep them at bay. They were able to keep them scoreless. Their girls are ball skilled, and our girls were able to stay with them.”

Alyssa Kelly made three saves in goal for Weir.

Loren Gray recorded seven saves for Big Red.

“I give our girls a lot of credit,” Robinson said. “Weir is a tough team. They have a tough program. Playing them 1-0 will help our girls with their confidence going into the state tournament.”

Big Red’s next game is at 10 a.m. Saturday against Catholic Central.

“It is the Breast Cancer Awareness Game,” Robinson said. “There will be boys and girls games. All of the local teams will be playing, us, Edison, Catholic Central and Indian Creek. We all sold baskets. We sold drawing tickets. The money from the admission and the concession stand will go to Trinity to help fight cancer.

“There is going to be soccer all day. There is going to be good games. I encourage everyone to come and see that.

“We have a friendly rivalry with Catholic Central. The kids have grown up together. They know each other. It is always a good game whenever we play.”

Weir’s next game is at 7:30 p.m. Monday against Linsly at Jimmy Carey Stadium. The Cadets are the OVAC Cup Tournament runner-up. Brooke blanked Linsly, 2-0, Monday night at Wheeling Island Stadium.

“We just missed out on the OVACs,” Naughton said. “It was great to see my alma mater win it. I just wish we could have played in it.

“It is big for the valley. Most of my girls have never played in it.

“I think only my seniors have got to experience it. It is great to play for the cup, to play on the Island and to have that feeling. We were disappointed we didn’t make it, but we were still able to play games.”