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Fast start lifts Creek girls past Madonna

WEIRTON — The Indian Creek girls soccer team came out fired up and ready to play. Meanwhile, Madonna got off to another sluggish start.

The Redskins scored a goal less than five minutes into the game and recorded two more in the second half en route to a 3-0 victory over the Blue Dons Wednesday evening at the J.C. Williams Soccer Complex.

“We had a lot of opportunities in the first half, but we did not finish,” Indian Creek (11-5) head coach Joe Lewis said. “We talked to the girls, and we started playing smarter soccer in the second half. We possessed the ball better in the second half, and were able to score a couple more goals. We played better in the second half.”

Indian Creek’s early goal forced Madonna to play catch up for the majority of the game.

“We passed the ball to them too many times,” Madonna (10-7) head coach Bob Kolanko said. “Our first touch went awry. We passed the ball too many times to the team in white. Time and time again, we had to chase the ball to try and get it back. We need to get better at that.”

Offensively for Indian Creek, Rileigh Gualtiere and Abby Copeland each tallied a goal and an assist, while Ally Tweedy delivered a goal and Hailey Clark collected an assist.

Makenzie Taylor made four saves in goal for the Redskins.

“We always give up a goal in the first five minutes,” Kolanko said. “We are slow out of the box. It is a motivational thing at the beginning of games. We give up that first goal, and then we have to battle back to try and make it even.

“After that first goal, it was even. We were not creating any shots, but our defense did what it had to do to protect the one-goal deficit. They didn’t let them score again.”

Madonna used two goalies in the game. Abbey Macek started the game in goal, and she made nine saves before being replaced during the second half by Sofia-Teresa Dibacco, who did not make a save.

“I had not see Madonna all year,” Lewis said. “I just drew on the experience of playing them in the past. Madonna played aggressive, and they played physical. That is a compliment. They were quick to a player. They fought to protect the ball. They played nice-aggressive soccer. They fought for the 50-50 balls.”

Gualtiere opened the scoring about four minutes in when she scored off of an assist by Copeland to give the visitors a 1-0 advantage.

The two hooked up again for Indian Creek’s second goal, but this time Copeland scored off an assist by Gualtiere to make it 2-0. The goal came off of a corner kick by Gualtiere who sent the ball into the box to Copeland, who was able to knock it into the back of the net to increase her team’s advantage to two goals.

“There is a difference between 1-0 and 2-0,” Kolanko said. “On that corner kick we gave up, we misplayed it, and they played it well. It became 2-0, and we had to make some changes to try and create a spark up top.”

Tweedy capped the scoring off of an assist by Clark.

“That is typical for us,” Lewis said about his team’s using its speed to its advantage. “You play to your strength. Our strength is our speed.”

Indian Creek has played home games this season on grass and on turf, so the Redskins are comfortable playing on either surface.

“Last night, we practiced on grass,” Lewis said. “We practice on grass when we play on grass, and we practice on turf when we play on turf.”

Madonna had trouble sustaining an offensive attack against Indian Creek.

“We did not connect on our passes,” Kolanko said. “They had six or seven players in the box.”

The Blue Dons once again played without sophomore forward Isabella Pulice, who has been out for several games due to an injury.

“Isabella Pulice has been out for two-and-a-half weeks,” Kolanko said. “She is supposed to be back Saturday. Having Bella back will help out.”

Kolanko moved players around to try and create scoring chances for his team.

“We had to move kids around,” Kolanko said. “We had kids who were not in their right places, and that hurt us.”

Madonna is scheduled to play East Fairmont at 10 a.m. Saturday on the road.

“East Fairmont is always good,” Kolanko said. “We play them bright and early at 10 a.m. at their place. We have to put this game behind us. We have to get ready for our next game. We were coming off of an emotional high by beating Brooke.”

The Blue Dons have three regular season games left on their schedule before they open up sectional play.

The game was the final regular season game of the season for the Redskins. Indian Creek is slated to play St. Clairsville at 5 p.m. Monday on the road at Red Devil Stadium in an Ohio Division II Eastern District Sectional Semifinal. The game was originally scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

“St. Clairsville is strong,” Lewis said. “They are a real good team. They have some good players.

“I like our chances. It is going to be a battle. They are a great team. They are well coached. Wes (Stoner) does a great job with them.”

The Red Devils opened the season by defeating Indian Creek, 5-0, in the second game of a boys’ and girls’ doubleheader Aug. 16 at home.

The Redskins have improved a great deal since that game.

“In that first game, we had five girls who played last year,” Lewis said. “We had nine players who did not play the year before. We were a young an inexperienced group. We have matured a lot since then. We have improved as a team, and we have grown as a team.”

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