Oak Glen girls set sights on tourney after beating Brooke

IN PURSUIT — Oak Glen’s Izzy Barganski attempts to collect the ball near the sideline as Brooke’s Brooke Ohler pursues during Thursday’s game at Brooke Memorial Stadium. (Photo by Andrew Grimm)

WELLSBURG — The teams on Paul “Bud” Billiard Field inside Brooke Memorial Stadium on Thursday evening were simply heading in different directions.

The Brooke girls soccer team, according to coach Elias Hannaoui, was wrapping a tough, building regular season. Ryan Well’s Oak Glen squad has its eyes far beyond Thursday’s meeting, looking to contend for a state championship fresh off an OVAC Class 4A title.

The difference was evident during the match as the Golden Bears improved to 15-1, concluding the regular season by defeating the Bruins 10-1 on Brooke’s senior night.

“It’s good,” Wells said. “We have girls all over the field contributing right now. We played 22 girls again tonight. The focus is small goals to get to the big goal so that is what we preach every day.”

Maggie Kovalcik inched closer to a career milestone with a five goal performance, four of which came in the second half.

“She had five tonight and she is four away from 100 career goals,” Wells said of the senior team captain. “She is one of the most unselfish girls on the field or she probably would have had 100 a long time ago. It is a small goal of hers, but her main focus is helping us make it to states and see what happens from there.”

Oak Glen has all of its focus on the big picture.

“It is all about the big picture,” Wells said. “The girls are not a statistic-driven team, they’re just not. We post stats, but we never talk about them. They just come in and work hard and it is a coach’s dream.”

Hannaoui was not surprised by Oak Glen’s skill.

“We knew Oak Glen is a tough team this year,” he said. “Their record speaks for itself. They have talented players and are well coached. We have a lot of young players. We start six freshmen, sometimes seven. This is a learning season for us.

“We’ve just got to put this game behind us now and focus on the sectional game Monday. That is the one we definitely need to put everything we have got into and have better luck.”

The Bruins, who finish the regular season 2-14-1, were able to break up the shutout late in the contest when senior Emily Donley connected from long range, and Hannaoui was happy it was one of his seniors who found the back of the net.

“I am happy that our senior Emily Donley had the goal on what was her senior night,” he said.

Also scoring for the Golden Bears, who led 5-0 at halftime, were Brooklyn Loveland with two goals, Abigail Myers, Brooklyn Watts and Reece Enochs.

Watts also had three assists, while Loveland had two, Enochs one and Jiliana Virden one.

The match was the final of the regular season for both squads with sectional play beginning Monday. The Golden Bears have a bye on Monday and await an opponent to emerge for a home game on Tuesday. The Bruins will go on the road to take on John Marshall at 7 p.m.

(Grimm can be reached at agrimm@heraldstaronline.com. For local sports updates, follow us on Twitter @HSDTsports.)