Linsly Shuts Out Magnolia

Mariano charts 4 assists, one goal

Photo by Cody Tomer Linsly’s Sophia Stark, right, corrals the ball, while being defended by Magnolia’s Kameron Melott during Tuesday’s match at Linsly.

WHEELING — Linsly girls’ soccer coach Darryl Crews left his home field Tuesday night feeling pleased about his team’s performance.

The Cadets possessed the ball for the majority of the match, earning their initial victory and the first of Crews’ career as a head coach in a convincing 6-0 triumph over Magnolia.

Linsly peppered the net with 30 shots and kept the ball away from the Blue Eagles offense, a strategy that Crews has enforced since the first day of practice.

“I was proud of how we possessed the ball,” Crews said. “We work a whole lot on possession and passing. That’s what we do. We just really focus on that.

“It’s good to get that first victory. We have a good group of girls and they have worked hard throughout preseason. We still have some things to learn but we played hard.”

Athena Mariano put on a clinic of what it means to be a team player.

The junior handed out four assists and also tallied a goal in the victory.

“We call her the Energizer Bunny,” Crews said. “She never quits. She is very skilled and she draws people when she has the ball. We try to get her to play the ball off and she does. She is very coachable and is a very good kid.”

Despite allowing six goals, Magnolia goalkeeper Macy Haddox accumulated 24 saves in a strong effort.

“She is only a sophomore,” Eagles coach Brittany Leek said. “She is very good and has been doing a great job so far this year. She has a lot of potential.”

The Cadets got to work in the 27th minute of action as Faith Paull delivered a dart to teammate Lily George, who laced a shot from 18 yards out and into the cage to secure the upperhand.

In the final eight minutes of the first half, Mariano set up two different teammates to increase the advantage.

First, she sent a shot off Haddox’s hands. The rebound was corralled by teammate Mia Camps who found the back of the net.

Then, Mariano supplied a perfectly placed cross pass to Karianna Tavarez, who finished the job from 6 yards out for a 3-0 halftime lead.

Mariano’s third assist came early in the second half on another cross pass, this time to junior Maddie Nagel, who fired a missile into the cage.

Midway through the second half, Mariano turned in an unassisted goal to pad the Cadets cushion to 5-0.

Mariano perfected the cross pass late in the contest as she dialed up Tavarez, who garnered her second goal.

“We tried a new offense in the second half,” Crews said. “We liked the way it looked. We used the same players but just moved them around and gave them different responsibilities to try to become more multi-faceted.”

Magnolia will take the setback as a learning experience. After a busy stretch in the schedule, Leek is eager to get a day of practice today to focus on improving and preparing for the rest of the season.

“We are just starting to get in the groove of things, now,” she said. “We’ve played three of the last four days, so we haven’t had a chance to talk through some of our issues.

“In (today’s) practice, we will have a chance to work on a lot of technical things.”

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