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GIRLS' SOCCER: Central Girls Win Sectional Crown

October 21, 2012
By MIKE MATHISON , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WEIRTON - The Wheeling Central girls' soccer team exacted a little revenge and checked a goal of its list with a 1-0 victory against Weir on Saturday at Jimmy Carey Stadium to win the West Virginia Class AA-A Region One, Section One championship.

The Maroon Knights (18-2) will visit Fairmont Senior at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday for the right to play in the Final Four the following week in Beckley.

"We figured we'd be playing them this year because we played them last year in the sectional championship," Wheeling Central coach David Cross said. "We knew what to expect today when we played them and I think that helped us a lot."

Also helping the Maroon Knights was a stop at Brooke High School on Saturday morning to work out on the turf.

"This is only our second game on turf," said Cross. "We stopped at Brooke to help us get a feel for turf, how the ball rolls, being able to touch it and make passes. I really think that helped us. The ball rolls so much faster on turf than it does on grass.

"We're more of a skill team, a finesse team, we pass really well and possess the ball, and that is a lot tougher to do on turf than it is on grass."

The Red Riders finish the season at 8-9-1 in a contest that was a microcosm of their season.

Weir scored one goal or less in eight of the nine losses and in the one tie.

"Yes, scoring goals was a problem for us this year," Red Riders coach Jessica Naughton said. "And, that is not common for this program."

Also not common for the program was the youth on the field.

"We have a lot of freshman who got a lot of playing time this year and that will only help us for next year," Naughton said. "I feel that offense will come next year.

"We had a lot of games where we didn't score any (goals) and that's not like us (Weir was blanked six times). It's definitely something that I had to get used to. We've had that offensive productivity from seasons before and it just didn't come this year.

"But, I fully expect it to be different next year for us."

Wheeling Central's Aspen Matlock ripped one from about 30 yards that went just over the outstretched hands of Weir freshman goalkeeper Alyssa Kelly 15 minutes into the game.

The Maroon Knights' defense and goalkeeper Regan Blaha kept the Riders off the board.

"At halftime we talked to them about relaxing," Cross said of his squad. "It was a physical game and that takes us out of our game. We needed the girls to relax, possess the ball and make passes.

"We talk every day that if you want to keep playing you have to come out play your best and win."

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