Wheeling Park blanks Weir boys

WEIRTON — The Weir boys soccer team struggled against Wheeling Park on senior night.

The Patriots scored less than three minutes into the match and never looked back en route to a 7-0 victory Thursday at Jimmy Carey Stadium.

“We knew what we were coming into,” first-year Weir coach Matt Kopp said. “We knew what to expect. They are a good team. I hope Park wins the state title. They are the best big school we have played when you look at skill-wise and the way they play. I hope they can bring the title back to Wheeling.”

The Patriots controlled the game essentially from the first touch to the last touch.

“We have been working hard on possessing the ball in the center midfield with our best players — Clay Meredith, Cole Meredith and Chris Romanek,” veteran Wheeling Park coach Mario Julian, who is in his 17th season as head coach said. “We really want to possess the ball. We want to pass the ball in the middle. We have speed on the outside, so we want to play the ball out wide and down the line. We did a good job of that. A lot of our goals came off of crosses.”

Louis Aulick led the way offensively for the victors with two goals and two assists, Jason Pennybacker produced a goal and two assists and Tino Kayafas, Cole Meredith and Ethan Williams all tallied a goal. The Patriots also scored on an own goal by the Red Riders.

Vincent Bauer recorded a pair of assists, while Michael Dague, Andrew Glass each delivered one.

Wheeling Park (14-3-1) used two goalies. Zach Calvert started in the net and played the first half, while Ben Weimer played the second half. Neither goalie had to make a save.

Weir (3-9-5) also used two goalies. Jacob Warrick started and he made three saves before being replaced during the second half by Skylar Jackson, who did not make a save.

“They used the same formation they have used in the past,” Julian said. “They lost a lot of talent. They were one of the better teams in the OVAC. We have all gone through this. Coach Kopp is a young coach. He is energetic. They have some talent. They have some players who can knock the ball around. They have a bright future.”

Wheeling Park outshot Weir, 14-0.

“We aren’t where I would like us to be,” Kopp said. “Record-wise, we are nowhere near where I would like us to be, or where we deserve to be. We do not deserve to win all of our games, but we had three or four games that ended up as ties or losses that should have been ties and wins.

“We have a young team. They have not recognized some things. They have not taken chances. They are not physical. No one has stepped up to be that guy. We have to work on those things. I hope we recognize now that it is win or go home. There is no tomorrow now. I am confident we will be ready for our sectional game, but it will never be easy. We are going to have to step up if we want to win it.”

Aulick opened the scoring with 37:57 left to play in the first half, and he added his second goal with 23:06 left to play before halftime. The own goal came with 17:07 showing on the scoreboard clock.

The Patriots collected four more in the second half.

Wheeling Park is scheduled to play again at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Woodrow Wilson.

“We are ranked third in the state,” Julian said. “University is ranked number one. They have beaten us, and we have a couple of other losses. We are headed to Woodrow Wilson. That is where the state tournament is. We are going down there, so the players can take a look at the field they will be playing on. We are looking forward to playing in our sectional game.”

Wheeling Park will be playing in the West Virginia Class AAA Region 1 Section 1 Final against either Brooke or John Marshall Thursday at Wheeling Island Stadium. The Bruins and the Monarchs are scheduled to play Tuesday at Brooke.

Weir is scheduled to play in the Class AA/A Region 1 Tournament Wednesday at home.

“These seniors have been through a lot,” Kopp said. “They have seen so much. They have had to work for playing time. They did not have to do a lot early in their career. They played behind some upperclassmen who were dominant. They had a lot of talent. Coming into the season they have to recognize they were the leaders of the team. They have struggled at times, but they are a great group.”

Weir has not won a game since defeating Oak Glen, 2-0, Sept. 17 at home. Since then, the Red Riders have tied three games and lost five, however, the losses have come against quality competition in the form of Linsly, Elkins, University, Brooke and Wheeling Park.

“Hopefully, we can turn it on in sectionals,” Kopp said. “This has been a rough week. Today we deserved the outcome we got.”