John Marshall Downs Weir in Girls’ Soccer

Photo by Bill Ferguson John Marshall’s Zara Zervos attempts a shot while Weir’s Alexia Jenkins defends.

GLEN DALE — Dealing with injuries, and playing with a handful of role players, John Marshall’s girls’ soccer team found itself in a two-goal deficit to Weir Monday afternoon.

But with the sun beating down and the humidity nearly unbearable, coach Tom Salkovick sat back and watched speedy sophomore Zara Zervos take over the game and help lead the Monarchs to victory.

Zervos single-handedly erased a 2-0 deficit with four consecutive goals, three in the first half and another in the second, before adding a fifth later in the contest as John Marshall pulled away from the Red Riders in the second half to earn a 7-4 victory at John Marshall High School.

With sophomore keeper Alexis Adams making some nice stops early for Weir (0-3) the visitors were able to keep the Monarchs (2-0) off the scoreboard before putting a pair into the net themselves, courtesy of sophomore Isabella Aperfine, midway through the first half.

Aperfine’s first goal came at the 22:29 mark of the opening half when she pushed a loose ball past John Marshall keeper Isabella Anderson just a few feet from the goal.

The second came 44 seconds later when Anderson knocked away a shot by senior Sierra Huey only to have an alert Aperfine knock the ball in, again from very close in, to push the count to 2-0.

However, that is when Zervos stepped up and took control, using her speed to beat the Red Riders’ defense down the field. Zervos’ cut the lead in half at 19:16 when her one-on-one shot seemed to freeze Adams as the ball went high into the right corner of the net to make it 2-1.

Just over four minutes later Zervos made a long run down field, and with a defender draped on her, found the other corner of the goal from 20 yards out to knot the count at 2-2.

The sophomore dandy ensured her team a halftime lead with just 1:35 showing when she once again scored from around 20 yards out, this time on a grounder that Adams could not corral that made it a 3-2 Monarchs’ advantage.

After trailing by a pair early, John Marshall pushed its lead to a pair at 28:17 of the second half when Zervos’ long, booming kick beat senior Alexis Vuiller for a 4-2 reading.

But once again Weir came to life midway through the half, this time scoring a pair of goals in a 2:50 span to once again tie things up, this time at 4-4.

Senior Julia Gianni’s boot from straight on, just outside of the box, made it 4-3 at 23:25. Gianni again did the honors at 20:35 when Aperfine tapped her ball on an indirect kick in the box and she watched it sail over the Monarchs’ wall and into net.

However, while the Red Riders battled for the initial three quarters of the game, the final 19:47 belonged to the Monarchs with senior Tressa Begley doing the honors on the eventual game-winner and some insurance and Zervos closing things out.

Begley gave the hosts the lead for good at 19:47 on a direct kick from 25-yards away that went through the out-stretched hands of Vuiller and into the net for a 5-4 reading. At 12:39 Begley took an open shot from just outside the box that again found the back of the net for a 6-4 score.

Zervos’ fifth and final goal of the contest closed things out at 12:04 when a Weir defender missed on a header off of a long kick and Zervos tracking the ball down, once again beating the defense down field and finding the corner for the 7-4 final.

“We managed to get behind early on, but we made a few adjustments and shuffled a few positions around and things started going our way,” Salkovick said. “When plan A doesn’t seem to be working you go to plan B and that worked (Monday), but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will work the next time.

“As a team we are a little beat up, and we had some girls that weren’t feeling well (Monday), but I am very proud of how the girls played and how we had some role players step up and make a difference.

“Zara (Zervos) does very good in the speed role for us and we try to utilize her in different positions and different situations as the game dictates.

“I also want to comment on how well the Weir girls played. They have some very good players in #3 (Gianni) and #8 (Aperfine) and you can tell that they are a very well coached team.”

Red Riders’ Head Coach Jeremy Angelo had trouble figuring out exactly what happened to his team Monday.

“I really am not sure what happened (Monday),” Angelo said. “We have been fixing things, especially after giving up a couple of bad goals in our last game. But we have been winning in all three games we have lost and then start giving up goals.

“Their aggressiveness hurt us. They came to play and I think we just wanted to have fun.”

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