OVAC soccer all stars gather at Harding

STEUBENVILLE – Less than 24 hours removed from OVAC championship softball games, Steubenville’s Casey Gentile and Loren Gray, along with Catholic Central’s Micca Mirabella, found themselves playing in the conference’s all-star game.

Only this was a soccer contest.

“It’s pretty easy to switch back from sports,” Mirabella said. “I knew this was coming up and I was prepared for it.”

Just like their titles on Saturday, the girls were part of another win on Sunday as Ohio topped West Virginia, 2-0, in the 18th-annual Senior All-Star Classic at Harding Stadium.

“It’s been a pretty good weekend,” said Gray, the Ohio team’s goalie who also won defensive MVP honors. “I knew the wind was behind us, so the balls were going to be coming in pretty hard. I just focused and did the best I could.

“I really like soccer and the fact that we won and I got the award makes it even better.”

Bittersweet, too. Gray, who made 12 saves, will not be playing soccer in college. She is going to Kent State University. It was also Gentile’s last soccer game. She is going to West Virginia University in the fall.

“It was a lot of fun,” Gentile said. “I’ll definitely miss playing soccer, but this was a good way to go out.

“I’m really proud of what we have done. It’s nice to be on two successful teams right now.”

With it being the middle of softball season, there were still some adjustments to be made on the fly.

“I haven’t touched a soccer ball in six months since the sectional game,” Gentile said. “I’m not in soccer shape anymore, so the running was a little bit hard.”

It was made even tougher with the 25-mile per hour winds that blistered through the entire afternoon.

“The first few minutes were pretty rough,” Mirabella said. “But after running up and back a little bit it got easier. You have to adjust, then it’s just a natural flow.”

Beaver Local’s Hannah Cochran scored the first goal, with less than eight minutes remaining before halftime.

In the second half, Eberle Ferrell of St. Clairsville added a second at the 20:31 mark.

“These girls really came together,” said Steubenville coach Jared Robinson, who along with Central’s David LaRue filled in for Jeremy Angelo of Edison to lead the Ohio team. “They showed what they were made of and showed why they were chosen to play in this game.

“It’s great for Ohio and great for all the programs that were involved.”

For West Virginia, Erin Conway of Brooke was named defensive MVP.

“It was great to coach her one last time,” said Lee Weppler, Brooke head coach and mentor for West Virginia. “They’re all great players. They went out there and did what they could. It’s a tremendous opportunity for them.”

Same goes for Weppler, too. He’s an assistant basketball coach, so leading a team in the spring was a new experience.

“It was enjoyable,” he said. “There’s not any pressure. You just sit back and watch and let the girls have fun.”