Brooke boys get needed win

KICKING AWAY — Brooke’s Josh Ferguson kicks the ball out of the air away from Oak Glen’s Blake Perez (Photo by Joe Catullo).

KICKING AWAY — Brooke’s Josh Ferguson kicks the ball out of the air away from Oak Glen’s Blake Perez (Photo by Joe Catullo).

NEW MANCHESTER — Coming off a pair of tough defeats to Steubenville and Weir High last week, the Brooke boys soccer team needed to defeat Oak Glen on Thursday before sectionals next week.

The Bruins started slow but found their groove midway through the first half during their 4-0 victory.

“We just came off a hard fought loss to Weir High,” Brooke head coach Joe Pepe said. “It was a little bit of a letdown, but I’ll never get down on this team. We had to get back on the winning track.”

Brooke (8-10-1) pressured the Golden Bears (8-10-2) early on despite not scoring. Konner Govey changed that with 23:07 left in the first half for his 18th goal this year. Nick Cruny, who assisted Govey’s goal, scored with 2:45 remaining to give the Bruins a 2-0 advantage at halftime.

“Once we settled down, we moved the ball very well,” Pepe said. “We did look for the opportunities. We’ve been having problems scoring all year long. Everything’s starting to come around.”

The Bruins put the game away early in the second half. Domenic D’Ulisse headbutted a Cruny pass to give his team a 3-0 lead with 37:03 left on the clock. Less than three minutes later, Josh Ferguson scored off Cruny’s third assist.

“We went defensive on them because we knew they had some good offensive players,” Oak Glen head coach Joe Provenzano said. “We marked Govey after his first goal to take him out of the equation.”

Brooke outshot Oak Glen 26-8. Matthew Reed made four saves in goal for the Bruins. D’Ulisse relieved him late in the game and made two saves. Oak Glen’s Jacob Clark had 22 saves.

Despite the loss, Provenzano remains confident come tournament time.

“We have been playing better soccer of late,” he said. “It just didn’t look too good tonight. We still have a lot to work on our touches and when to pass it. It’s a head game. If you can get into soccer players’ heads early, they’ll play better. It’s just a matter of how to get in their heads to show them that they’re good players.”

Both teams will host games during the first round of sectionals. Oak Glen hosts Trinity Christian in a Class AA/A Region 1 Section 1 match at 6:30 p.m. on Monday.

“Oak Glen’s got a good, promising team. They’ll be a team to reckon with,” Pepe said. “I’ll tell you what, they’re going to surprise a lot of teams. I wish them luck.”

Brooke welcomes John Marshall on Tuesday in a Class AAA Region 1 Section 1 match. Before that, the Bruins host Ripley for senior day on Saturday.

“The kids are playing well,” Pepe said. “We have some injuries and two kids that didn’t show up due to injuries, but we’re very proud of this team.”

Game notes

¯ Wednesday’s contest was the first of a boys/girls charity doubleheader. Oak Glen supported Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation this year.

“We do this every year, and the reason I love it is because it’s about more than just soccer,” Provenzano said. “I think we’re over $2,500 for kids that need it. Our kids have the opportunity to play soccer. We do have kids that can’t get out on the field. I think it shows there’s more than just soccer every year. Each year it grows.”

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