WHEELING - Charleston Catholic coach Amy Mullen found a little motivation when she was least expecting it.
The Fighting Irish coach, doing some pre-Bishop's Cup research, came across a picture in the newspaper of Wheeling Central holding the Bishop's Cup trophy it won by beating her team last year.
"I sent the picture to all my girls (via text message) and said, "Girls, we want that trophy back," Mullen said.
Charleston Catholic’s Peyton Keener, left, battles with Madonna’s Shelby Kirk during action Saturday in Wheeling.
On Saturday Charleston Catholic did just that, with an emphatic 7-0 win over Madonna at Wheeling Jesuit University.
Sophomores Peyton Keener and Caroline Dundervill scored two goals each as the Irish retained the Cup and have held it 10 times in the past 11 years.
"We don't treat this as a typical early-season tournament," Mullen said. "For us it is a goal. This is just the first one. It's a big one. Then the sectionals, regionals, state tournament and winning (the state tournament)."
Madonna coach Bob Kolanko is a believer.
"They have an outstanding team," he said. "Their starters play at a very high level. And when the sub, they're just as good as the starters. We played with them the first 10, 15 minutes, and that's where the separation started. They have an exceptional team."
The Blue Dons did hang tough for the first half. Madonna held Catholic to a pair of goals, one by Keener and the other by Payton Mullen.
Still, Madonna was very much in the game after the first 40 minutes of action.
"We wanted to be aggressive and we were finally able to get a couple of scores there," coach Mullen said. "Madonna has a good team, and they did a good job of getting us offsides in the first half."
The second half was a different story.
Keener scored just two minutes into the half and then Dundevill had two goals in a seven minute period to stretch the lead to 5-0.
Mia Casingal and Katie Pulliam finished off the scoring for the Fighting Irish.
Though the score was lopsided, Madonna goalkeeper Tessie Tokash did a good job in goal, stopping 35 shots, some of them at near point-blank range.
"When you face as many shots as she did, and it was a lot, you'd have to say she did a pretty good job," Kolanko said. "For a first-year goalkeeper, I thought she did an outstanding job against a a really good team. We just didn't do a very good job of giving her a lot of help on the defensive end."
Coach Mullen agreed.
"We tried to keep the pressure on and she did a pretty good job of keeping us out until we were finally able to break through," she said.
Now the Bishop's Cup finds its way back to Charleston, which has been its home for most of the last decade.
"When I messaged the girls, I got few responses like, 'We're getting (the Cup) back,'" Mullen said. "I think it got them fired up, gave them some motivation. We wanted to play Wheeling Central but Madonna was a good team, too. It was important for us to get this first goal behind us and take the trophy back to Charleston."
For Madonna (6-3), it was a learning experience.
"It's good to play a team like that," Kolanko said. "Our girls will be better for playing against a team like that. It lets us know what we need to get better at, so we understand what it takes to play with a team like that. It's all about what we learn from this."
Wheeling Central won the consolation game with a 2-0 win over Huntington St. Joe. Bailey Clark and Ashton Cross had goals for the Maroon Knights.