PARKERSBURG - Brooke's defensive tactics could keep Parkersburg at bay for only so long during a West Virginia Class AAA, Region One, Section One semifinal boys' soccer match Monday night at Stadium Field.
Four different players scored a goal as the Big Reds posted their eighth shutout of the season in defeating the Bruins, 4-0.
The scene for Wednesday's sectional final returns to Stadium Field where PHS will meet Wheeling Park, a 4-3 overtime winner against Parkersburg South, at 5:30 p.m.
Against Brooke, it appeared as if the rout was on as Brooke keeper Zachary Ciccolella was greeted immediately with three shot attempts in the first three minutes of the first half. Two resulted in goals.
Forty-nine seconds into the match, Matt Powney took possession at midfield and found Hunter Hill sprinting downfield along the sideline. Hill received the pass 25 yards from the goal, made the attack then let the shot go just inside the box. The ball glanced off the far post then trickled past the keeper.
Two minutes later, PHS midfielder Cameron Morris centered a pass to Garrett Kruger, who was stationed deep in the box and converted the goal.
"We started out flat, but we made some adjustments and defended well," Brooke coach Brian Cerullo said.
Brooke tightened up its forces for the remainder of the first half and the first 25 minutes of the second half. PHS consistently pushed possession deep into Bruin territory and created multiple scoring opportunities but Ciccolella was up to the task.
The converted forward made 16 saves for the match.
"We had a couple injuries early in the year and we shifted Zachary back to keeper, and he really helped us out all year," Cerullo said.
Careless ball handling on Brooke's part allowed PHS forward Nick Payne to score a goal from close range with 15:14 remaining in regulation. Kruger was credited with an assist.
Moments later with 12:32 showing on the clock, Big Red midfielder Tyler Parsons was the beneficiary of some impressive passing from Powney and Evan Rhodes and put the Big Reds in front, 4-0.