Linsly Earns Win Over Central

Fast start keys Cadets in victory over the Maroon Knights

Photo by Kyle Lutz Linsly’s Lily George (10) and Wheeling Central’s Nicole Billie go after a loose ball during Thursday’s game at the East Wheeling Sports Complex.

WHEELING — Another chapter of the Linsly and Wheeling Central girls soccer rivalry was on display Tuesday night at East Wheeling Sports Complex. It didn’t take the Cadets long to get started as they scored three goals in just under four minutes as they defeated the Maroon Knights, 4-1.

“They’re a good team. This is the best our team has played,” Linsly coach Darryl Crews said. “They obviously wanted it. It was a great team effort on our part. We were strong in the back and everybody just played well (Tuesday). That’s about what you can say.”

With 34:21 left to play in the opening half, Faith Paull got things going for the Cadets as she found the back of the net to put the score at 1-0. The junior was right back at it again three seconds later as she scored her second goal of the night to give Linsly a comfortable cushion.

Sophia Stark got in on the scoring as she booted a free kick about 40 yards to the back of the net right out of the goalkeeper’s reach to put the score at 3-0 with 30:33 left in the opening frame.

“Fortunately during that time they didn’t lay back,” Crews said. “They got the taste and wanted more. We had some great games with Central over the years and had another one (Tuesday).”

The Cadets added the final goal of the half on a penalty kick with a little over eight minutes left. Athena Mariano took advantage of her opportunity as she saw her kick hit the back of the net to put the score at 4-0.

“No matter what the records for either of these teams when they play each other, it’s a match,” Wheeling Central coach Julie Barack said. “You could be the top-ranked in your division or the lowest and no matter what, you never know who’s going to win or who’s going to show up.

“We knew they were going to be tough because looking at their scores, I haven’t had the opportunity to see them play this year until now, but when I saw they only lost to University by a 2-1 margin, I knew this was going to be a game.

“They’re solid from the front to the back, which is a blessing for them to have. We’re doing our best and we’re growing.”

Wheeling Central had a great opportunity in the final couple minutes of the first half as Kenadee Wayt dished a pass to Sydney Mansuetto, who had a nice look at the net as she brought her leg back and made a shot attempt. However, Johni Lech read the ball perfectly as it landed right into the goalkeeper’s hands and the Maroon Knights came away empty-handed.

“Our defense is outstanding, starting with one of the best goalies in the Valley if not the best,” Crews said. “Basically five different people played back and they played outstanding. Just a lot of heart and some of them were hurting, we played well.”

It was a defensive battle for the majority of the second half with very little shots on goal, but like with any great athletes, it’s hard to completely shut someone down. Wayt, who just broke the school’s record in goals scored, managed to get Wheeling Central on the board as she scored her 90th of the season to put the score at 4-1 with 14:19 remaining in the contest.

“Those three goals were a little deflating but we made some adjustments the second half and won the second half,” Barack said. “That’s what we were looking at. We said, ‘Forget about the first half, let’s learn from it and make some adjustments.’ To me, that’s all you can ask for.”

Wheeling Central will face off against Huntington St. Joseph on Friday in the Bishop’s Cup while Linsly’s next matchup is against Morgantown on Thursday.

“We’ve been talking all year about getting more aggressive and we won a lot more 50-50 balls (Tuesday) than we have against against other good teams,” Crews said. “I think if nothing else, they have some confidence in their ability now because we have some tough games.”

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