Mealy Ties It for Park Girls
Patriots Earn Third Stalemate in Last Week
WHEELING — If the Wheeling Park girls’ soccer team is going to be able to achieve its goal of winning a state championship, it will have to learn to deal with adversity.
For the first time this season, Wheeling Park found itself trailing.
And while the Patriots weren’t able to rally and earn a victory against regional and OVAC foe Morgantown, a late goal by Faith Mealy evened the contest and the two teams left Wheeling Island Stadium on Saturday with a 1-1 tie.
It is the third straight tie — all coming this week — for the Patriots after beginning the season 4-0.
“Any time you don’t lose, a tie is a better than a loss,” Wheeling Park coach Carrie Hanna said. “I feel this tie is more like a win than the last two ties that we dominated and just didn’t finish. I think this was a great battle and I have to give it to Morgantown. They are phenomenal team and have a lot of special players.
“Their goal was a lot of eyes and individual brilliance from Sammie Brown. Hats off your opponent when they do something like that.
“This week we talked responsibility. How are we going to respond to adversity? The last game we were beating ourselves. This time we went down against a quality opponent and they couldn’t have responded better in the second half. We dominated play, had a lot of opportunities, and capitalized on one to make sure we got out of here with a tie and not a loss.”
That goal came on a perfectly executed play.
Graceylyn Hanna sent a cross that found its mark — the right foot of Mealy.
The West Virginia University commit used one touch to put it below a diving Morgantown goalie Jessica Jones to tie the contest 64th minute.
“It all started with Daisy Reasbeck,” Coach Hanna said. “We talk about our free kicks, let’s not waste them. She saw Megan (Matthews)wide open on the left, Megan played it on to Grace. Grace picked her head up, saw Faith making that run on the back post and played a beautiful ball. Faith focused on the ball, didn’t let the keeper distract her and buried it.”
That goal came in answer to one of the toughest goals you will see in a high school soccer game by the Mohigans’ Brown.
The first team all-stater put her team on the board first shortly after halftime, scoring in the 43rd minute.
Brown was a focus all game for the Patriots, who one week ago had to deal with Cabell Midland’s Emilee Charles, the two-time State Player of the Year.
While Charles was unable to break the Patriots defense, Brown somehow got through.
After fighting off one defender at the top of the box, she was met by another.
Brown was finally able to get past her and buried it low into the corner past Wheeling Park netminder Jillian Blair.
“It was a great battle and exactly what we expected, nothing less,” Morgantown coach Stirlin Rivers said. “They gave us trouble last year. I was happy to see both teams enjoying what they are doing and fighting hard.
“Sammie was excellent. It is a team game, but you also have individual players with great skill and I think you saw that with her and on that side No. 17 (Hanna) and 12 (Mealy).
“It is always good to see a team that you may play again. We have a lot of freshman and it was a good experience for them. We look forward to seeing them again. I hope we do because last year they beat us twice and we owe them.”
Park had one final chance to earn a victory, but a corner kick in the waning seconds was covered up by Jones as the whistle blew.
Carrie Hanna acknowledged a rematch with Morgantown or University (which Wheeling Park tied, 0-0, on Thursday) is possible in either the OVAC Tournament or the regional championship.
“We need to collect some win points to get in the OVACs first, but they were good opponents and we have to continue to focus on what we’re doing and perfect what we’re doing,” she said. “If we can perfect our game, we are going to be successful.”