WHEELING - Injuries and youth are two things that the Linsly girls' soccer team have been fighting all season long.
However, coach Erica Hall's Cadets have continued to fight and it is paying off big dividends.
Playing with standout junior captain Maleha Kureishy - out with a sore back - Linsly scored a pair of goals in each half and did an outstanding job defensively, limiting Weir to two shots, as the Cadets recorded a 4-0 blanking of the Red Riders on Monday at Holloway Field.
The victory moves Linsly to 7-3, coming off a big, impressive victory against Parkersburg South last Saturday afternoon.
''We have been dealing with injuries all season long,'' Hall said. ''Actually, we have not had the same starting lineup for two games in a row yet.
''But we are doing a good job working and growing as a team and you can see the girls gelling and getting better each game.''
That growth was on display again as the Cadets put plenty of pressure on the Riders (1-4) net while their own freshman keeper, Morgan Brunner, spent plenty of time watching the game from in front of her own.
Senior Gift Chima got the scoring started 15 minutes into the game on an assist from classmate Taylor Cunningham. Chima's high, arching kick from 15 yards out sailed over freshman keeper Alyssa Kelly's head for a 1-0 score.
A little more than seven minutes later the score doubled when freshman Jordan Burkle took a nice lead pass from Kaitlin Snyder in front of the net and beat Kelly to the side for the score.
While the Riders trailed 2-0 at the break, Kelly, who cracked the lineup two games ago due to an injury to a teammate, did an outstanding job not letting the score get out of hand. Kelly racked up nine saves in the first half, and after sitting out a couple of minutes with an injury, returned to add six more stops in the second half.
''Our senior keeper got hurt and Alyssa has done an outstanding job for us the last two games,'' Weir coach Jessica Naughton said. ''We are a young group that is a work in progress, but she is going to keep us in some games if she continues to play like that.''
Hall agreed, and had nothing but compliments for the freshman.
''Their keeper did a great job and made an amazing save on a free kick deep in their end,'' Hall said.
Snyder, also just a freshman, added a rebounded goal off a save midway through the second half on another assist from Cunningham, while sophomore Maggie France capped the scoring with five minutes to play.
''We were coming off a great win over Parkersburg South on Saturday and this one gives us a lot of confidence in getting ready for the OVAC Tournament,'' Hall added. ''Our freshmen have come up big and we will continue to work and get girls healthy.''
As for Naughton, there is no question where her team needs the most improvement.
''We have to start building, but to do that we have to be taking shots,'' Naughton said. ''You can't win if you take less shots than they score goals, and that is what happened. But again, we have two freshmen forwards and we will get better and work for the future.''