Big Red girls celebrate senior night in style

PREVENTING — Steubenville’s, from left, Michaela Brancazio, Zoe Nocera and Emma Black prevent a goal against Brooke on Wednesday. Also shown are, from left, Brooke’s Hailee Vizyak, Sara Pearson, Big Red’s Gabrielle Lulla and Makayla Crownover. (Photo by Joe Catullo)

STEUBENVILLE — The Big Red girls’ soccer team is playing well at the right time of the season.

Steubenville scored two goals in each half against Brooke, while keeping the Bruins off the scoreboard in a 4-0 victory Wednesday on senior night on Reno Field inside Harding Stadium.

Brooke had the better of the play earlier, but the Bruins were not able to break through for a goal. Big Red was then able to settle things down before breaking into the scoring column.

“We were able to break through,” Big Red (11-3-1) head coach Jared Robinson said. “Libby (Saccoccia) distributed the ball, and Chloe (Petrelle) took it from there. We settled down, and we started playing like we normally do.

“Our emotions were high at the beginning of the game, and rightfully so. It is senior night. Senior night is always emotional. We played with a lot of emotion for the first 10 minutes. After that, we started to play better.”

The Bruins had some good chances early on, but they were unable to find the back of the net.

“We had chances,” Brooke (2-14-1) head coach Elias Hannaoui said. “We missed a lot of chances. They made us pay on our first mistake. They were able to take advantage. They did not miss. We tried to come back, but we couldn’t.

“It was a hard game. It was senior night for them. We had a good start. We had more chances, but they were able to control the game after they scored their first goal. Their seniors played well. That made a difference. We start a lot of freshmen. We are a young team. Hopefully, they will learn from this and in two years they will be more competitive.”

Mary Marshall, Jessica Starkweather and Ciarra Turner all scored goals for Big Red, along with Petrelle. Michaela Brancazio collected an assist, along with Saccoccia and Marshall. Zoe Nocera made four saves in goal, including a diving stop to keep Brooke off of the scoreboard in the second half.

“They have a good forward in No. 16 (Marshall),” Hannaoui said. “She has good footwork. It took two girls to contain her. We could not stop her. She had control of the ball with her feet. We knew one player could not keep up. She is a good player.”

Natalie Slivka made five saves for the Bruins.

“They still try to do what they did when they had those other girls,” Robinson said. “He does a great with their girls. He gets them ready to play. They play hard. They play with a lot of heart, pride and effort. Any time we play Brooke, it is always a battle.”

Petrelle produced the first goal of the game with 26:32 remaining in the first half. Then, Marshall scored on a penalty kick with 24:35 left before halftime to make it 2-0. Starkweather scored with 4:48 left in the game to give Big Red a 3-0 advantage, with Marshall assisting. Then, Turner capped the scoring with 42.9 seconds still showing on the clock. Brancazio assisted on the goal.

“The senior class has meant a lot,” Robinson said. “They have put in a lot of work this past year. They have come a long way. They have developed into really well rounded soccer players. They are leaders on and off of the field. They are active in our school. They mean a lot to the girls, to the coaching staff and to the school. They are a mixture of leading vocally and leading by example.”

Brooke is scheduled to play at 5:30 p.m. today against Oak Glen.

“The girls are playing better,” Hannaoui said. “They have improved. They are connecting passes better. We just are not finishing. We have to finish. Hopefully, we can do that in our next game and in the playoffs.”

Big Red is scheduled to play their final regular season game at 11 a.m. Saturday out at Hiland.

Big Red got a big boost from beating Indian Creek, 1-0, Saturday in the championship game of the Sixth-Annual Together We Care Soccer Tournament at Harding Stadium.

“That was huge,” Robinson said. “It was a really-big win. The girls wanted to win that championship. They did not perform up to their capabilities the first time we played them. They wanted to show what they could do. It meant a lot. The girls wanted to show that they were worthy of winning that championship, and they did. It is just another milestone that this team has achieved.”

Brooke is scheduled to play at 7 p.m. Monday at John Marshall in the West Virginia Class AAA Region 1, Section 1 tournament.

Big Red, the No. 5 seed, will open up play in the Ohio Division II Eastern District tournament against No. 9 Dover at 6 p.m. at home. Big Red blanked Dover, 2-0, during the regular season.

“It was back and forth,” Robinson said about the first meeting. “It was a tough game. We were able to prevail. We did a lot of things right. We gave a good effort, and we are going to have to do that again or give an even better effort.”

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