WHEELING - Missing a pair of starters due to injury, including Maleha Kureishy, and having to play a number of girls out of position, it might have been real easy for Linsly to go through the motions against a strong and talented Wheeling Central squad.
However, coach Erica Hall's Cadets (8-2) had other things in mind, scoring a pair of late first half goals and playing tenacious defense the entire way in gaining a hard-fought 3-0 victory, in a physical contest against the Maroon Knights (6-3) on a muggy Tuesday afternoon on Field 4 at Wheeling Park.
"There were some injuries and we just felt it was in the girl's best interest to not play," Hall said. "And at the beginning we played a lot of kids out of position, but I am so proud of how they went out and competed and got the job done.
"Before the game we talked about being there to support each other, and there is no question that everyone did their part and there was plenty of support."
In what began to look like a game that might not see a goal, Morgan Brunner scored at the 14 minute mark on a pass from Josie Mosman that ricocheted off the bar and bounced in to make it a 1-0 Linsly count, in what turned out to be the only goal needed.
The second came late in the half on a feed from Pris Wright to Anna Caruso following a steal that found Wheeling Central keeper Regan Blaha out front. Caruso tapped the ball into the net just two minutes before the break with the insurance tally pushing the margin to 2-0.
It stayed that way for the next 37 minutes before Leah Memmo's header landed at the feet of Mosman, who drilled the ball past Blaha for the 3-0 final.
"Conditioning played a little bit of a part," Hall added. "Our back four are very solid and regardless of whether or not they are up they are usually in good position and good conditioning is the reason why. We worked very hard out there and did not give anything up. The girls knew they had to step up and that is exactly what they did."
Maroon Knights' coach David Cross felt his team played well, but in the end also thought it might have come down to numbers.
"Player-wise they have numbers on us and can sub freely and that is definitely an advantage on a day like (Tuesday)," Cross said. "But I thought we played well and did a lot of good things.
"We have several scoring opportunities that we just didn't capitalize on and Linsly played very well. They are a very good team and it showed."
While the Cadets had five shots on goal, Central had just two with Vivian Allison knocking both away to preserve the shutout.