WHEELING - Wheeling Central girls' soccer coach David Cross says the team goal is to be 1-0 each after each match.
''Hopefully we have four more games of being 1-0,'' he said.
The Maroon Knights (17-2) are having one of the best seasons in school history and the march to a state championship began in convincing fashion Thursday afternoon with an 8-0 victory against Oak Glen in a West Virginia Class AA/A Region One, Section One semifinal at Wheeling Park's Field 4.
Wheeling Central’s Kristen
Jarrett (7) battles for possession with Oak Glen’s Alex Burch during their
sectional semifinal game
Thursday at Wheeling Park’s Field 4. The Maroon Knights won, 8-0.
Wheeling Central goes for a sectional championship Saturday when it plays Weir, a 2-0 winner against Madonna, at 2 p.m. at Jimmy Carey Stadium in Weirton.
The Maroon Knights sure looked like a team with more on its mind as it took control early on.
Bailey Clark took a pass from Ashton Cross in the third minute and lifted it over the head of Oak Glen (10-9-1) goalkeeper Casey Highfield for a 1-0 lead.
Clark found Beth Stayduhar 42 seconds later with a one-timer that put Wheeling Central up 2-0 and started the rout.
''The girls did a real good job and the whole game there were only a few things I was unhappy with and they didn't talk to each other a few times,'' Coach Cross said. ''Everything else, they played the way we hoped they would.
''They are really excited about the postseason and they are looking to do some good things this year. I like the 8-0 wins more than 1-0 wins.''
Oak Glen, which lost 4-1 to Wheeling Central in the regular season, was able to get a few shots on goal, specifically from standout Megan Collins, a 100-goal scorer in her four-year career. But each time Maroon Knights netminder Regan Blaha was there to make the save.
Blaha finished with six stops.
''Wheeling Central is tough and we knew that coming down here because they beat us fairly easily before,'' Oak Glen coach Sam Paletta said. ''We had been playing better and we were hoping we could pull something out, but they are a good solid team.
''We gave up two early quick but there was no quit in there. It was cold out here and wet out here and they were playing as hard at the end as they were at the start. I love these girls.''
Ashton Cross scored on a header off a corner kick from Stayduhar in the 25th minute and Aspen Matlock added a goal right before halftime to go into the break up 4-0.
Matlock completed the hat trick with two goals in the second half, while Stayduhar added her second of the game and Maria Miller concluded the scoring.
Wheeling Central defeated Weir, 3-2, earlier in the season.
''Weir is physical and I think it will be a really good game,'' Coach Cross said. ''Hopefully we can be 1-0 one more time.''