Weir girls celebrate seniors with 4-1 win
WEIRTON — For the second-straight game, the Weir girls soccer team get off to a fast start and came away with their second-straight victory.
The Red Riders scored three goals in less than 14 minutes against John Marshall during their 4-1 victory on senior night Tuesday.
“Playing with a lead makes it a lot easier,” Weir (9-5-3) head coach Jeremy Angelo said. “The good thing is if you do give up a goal, you are not playing from behind. In the first five or 10 minutes, we pressed, we attacked. The girls were excited about it being senior night. We put passes together. All of our goals came off of buildups. We had three, four or five passes, and then we finished. We played the ball to feet. We played the ball to our feet. We spread the field. We were able to possess the ball. We can do this every game.”
Weir’s fast start forced John Marshall to play catch-up all night long.
“We have three key defensive players who are out,” John Marshall (6-8-1) head coach Ted Zervos said. “Without them, our defense lacked communication. Once they figured it out and worked together, it was a much different game.
“I think Weir played outstanding. Their goalie is one of the best I have seen all year. They took advantage of some of their opportunities early on. We had chances, but we missed our opportunities. I don’t think the score was indicative of how the game went. After the early goals, the game was played pretty evenly. We just dug ourselves an early hole.”
Bella Aperfine tallied two goals and two assists to lead Weir, while Ava Taylor and Julia Gladowski each collected a goal and an assist. Alexis Adams made five saves in goal.
Zara Zervos scored an unassisted goal for John Marshall. The Monarchs used two goalies who combined for 10 saves. Isabella Anderson started and made six saves before being replaced during the second half.
“They did the same stuff as last year,” Angelo said. “No. 25 (Zervos) was everywhere. She’s fast. She’s physical. She’s strong. We limited her, and that made the difference. She scored for them, but she did not score on her two other really good chances. On the first one, she was one-on-one with Alexis, and Alexis made the save. Then there was the penalty kick, and Alexis stopped that. She scored once, but on her other two really good chances Alexis made the saves and kept us with a two or three goal lead.”
The Red Riders struck first less than 10 minutes into the game. Aperfine sent a ball through the John Marshall defense to Taylor, who ripped a shot into the net, giving Weir a 1-0 lead with 30:04 left in the half.
Aperfine extended the Red Riders’ advantage to 2-0 when she scored less than two minutes later. Gladowski assisted on the goal.
Then, Aperfine netted her second goal — this one coming off of an assist by Taylor — to put her team up 3-0 with 26:01 still showing on the clock.
“Weir did not do anything different,” coach Zervos said. “Early on with those goals, we had two girls back there who normally do not see a lot of time, and the communication was not there.”
The home team also got off to a good start in the second half, as Gladowski scored off an assist from Aperfine to increase Weir’s lead to 4-0 with 37:39 left to play.
“All year we have been working on our touch,” Angelo said. “We have been working on fundamentals. We have been working on trapping the ball. When you can trap the ball, it makes your life a lot easier. It helps when you get trap it instead of just kicking it. When you get tired, that is when the mental part comes in.”
Prior to the start of the game, Weir honored its four seniors in Jessica Orris, Megan Cramer, Faith Riggle and Lexus Rowland. All four seniors started, including Rowland. She has been unable to play all this season due to injury. The Red Riders played the ball back to Rowland on the kick off, who kicked the ball out of bounds before being subbed off of the field. The Monarchs threw the ball to a Red Rider on their throw-in.
“Those girls have meant a lot,” Angelo said. “I have been here three years, and those girls were sophomores when I came here. Last year, they really stepped up and came into their own. There has not been any drama. The captains take care of it. If I hear about, that means trouble, but I have not heard about anything. They are dedicated. They work hard. The younger girls follow them. They come to practice. You just don’t come to practice. You come early and you work on things, and that is what they do.”
The Monarchs are scheduled to conclude the regular season when they play Madonna at 5 p.m. Thursday at the J.C. Williams Soccer Complex.
Weir is scheduled to play its final regular season game at 6 p.m. Thursday at Wheeling Park.
“We will see what happens Thursday,” Angelo said. “They are one of the top teams in Class AAA. We have nothing to lose. We will see what happens.”
John Marshall, the No. 2 seed, will open up postseason play against third-seeded Brooke in the Class AAA Region 1, Section 1 semifinals at 6 p.m. Monday at home. The winner will play at No. 1 seed Wheeling Park in the sectional final.
The Red Riders, the No. 2 seed, will have a bye in the first round of the Class AA/A Region 1, Section 1 tournament. Weir will play the winner of the game between No. 3 seed Madonna and No. 6 seed Tyler Consolidated at 6 p.m. Oct. 24 at home. The game between the Blue Dons and the Silver Knights is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at Brooke.
The other first-round game will feature Wheeling Central vs. Magnolia. The winner of that game will play top-seeded Oak Glen. The Golden Bears also have a bye in the first round.
The sectional final is scheduled for Oct. 26 at the highest remaining seed’s home field.