WHEELING - If you like defensive, hard-hitting soccer then Wheeling Island Stadium was the place to be Monday night as Morgantown and Linsly provided plenty of each while trying to determine the 2013 boys' OVAC Soccer Cup champion.
But when all was said and done, it was a 2:25 spurt late in the second half by the Mohigans that made the difference.
Senior Killian Stappen scored the eventual game-winner with 13:36 to play before Zach Kilwein added an insurance goal at the 12:11 mark of the second half as Morgantown was crowned king of the OVAC with a 3-1 victory against the Cadets.
Photo by Dave Morrison
Linsly’s Westen Mead (5) tries to move around Morgantown defenders, including Addison Luck (14).
"I knew coming in that Linsly had beaten Wheeling Park so they had the confidence level to play against us," Mohigans coach Joe Melia said. "So I really did expect it to be a little bit physical and that everyone would play very hard and that is what we got."
Linsly coach Eric Fries agreed that he was not surprised with the physicality of the game.
"This was a final, a championship game, you go out there and you get any advantage you can," Fries said with a smile. "You clutch, you grab here and there, and you do what you have to do and can get away with and let the officials worry about that."
Each team had numerous near misses from lengthy distances during the initial 27 minutes of play before both teams managed to find the back of the net within two minutes of each other.
Linsly (11-4) senior keeper Daniel Truong made a pair of nice saves before Addison Luck got exactly a little bit of that with the third attempt. With Truong fighting to get back into net after the saves, Luck ran up to the loose ball, turned and fired a shot past another Cadets defender for a 1-0 advantage with 12:31 showing on the clock.
After working the ball downfield nicely a short time later, Linsly's Mason George drilled a pass to sophomore Ify Chima who blasted it past Mohigans keeper Daniel Berrebi to even the count with 10:29 to play in the opening half.
"Linsly played so hard in the opening half and had us back on our heels," Melia added. "I was just so glad to see the first half end so I could get them in the locker room and rally the troops a little bit."
The game-winner came with 13:36 to play, and the insurance goal quickly followed.
Stappen's rocket from 30 yards out found its way to the corner of the net for a 2-1 Morgantown (11-1-1) lead before junior Kilwein's laser from 25 yards away sailed over Truong's head just 2:25 later to make it a 3-1 count.
"I have told both Killian and Zach so many times to shoot the ball more and good things were going to happen," Melia said. "Good things happened."
For Fries it was just a good, hard-played game that his team came out on the short end of.
"The ebb-and-flow of the game went back and forth so many times," Fries commented. "It was really tremendous how hard both teams played and it really turned into more of a tactical game than anything."