Brooke Stuns Wheeling
WHEELING — It certainly was a memorable night for Brooke boys’ soccer coach Joe Pepe and his team. Year in and year out, the Bruins seemed to find themselves on the short end when facing Wheeling Park. Thursday night, though was a different story.
With 4:59 remaining in the contest, Ben Ferguson broke a 1-1 tie with a goal. That proved to be the game-winner as the Bruins stunned the Patriots, 2-1 at Wheeling Island Stadium.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Brooke coach Joe Pepe said. “We played regular season before when we tied, we have never beaten them and they have beat us for sectionals and so on. Park’s got a great team. We have been playing as a team. There’s a lot of unselfishness out there. We’re very proud of this team. The defense stepped up. The goalie (Andrew Coursin) stepped up and along with everyone else. I could not ask anymore from this team right now.”
Coursin, indeed, stepped up. The senior goalkeeper made save after save for the Bruins after giving up the first goal of the contest. He finished with a total of 16 saves including a diving stop in the early going of the second half that would have given Wheeling Park a 2-1 upperhand.
“This is second year playing soccer,” Pepe said. “Last year he came out to help us out because we were looking for a goalkeeper. He’s a star basketball player. We got him some sessions and training and so on. He’s really came along last year. We played extremely well, (Wheeling Park coach) Mario (Julian) and Wheeling Park always put together an excellent team. These kids have been working hard. This is a big win for us.”
The Patriots were the first to get on the board. Coleman Meredith continued his early season success as he found the back of the net with 26:22 remaining in the first half.
The Bruins, though, responded in a big way. With 1:43 left in the first half, Eddie Marks dished out a pass to Landon Bowers and the senior took it from there. Bowers found the back of the net to make it a 1-1 score at halftime.
“It’s disappointing to lose any game,” Julian said. “Brooke’s a sectional game and it had a lot of implications for the season. For the OVAC and the sectional tournament. Brooke deserved to win. They outhustled us, they won 50-50 balls and we didn’t have an answer to that aggression. We talked about it after the game, if you like to win and hate to lose, learn from this. I said, ‘Let’s learn from this and get better from this.’ We got to pull up our socks and tie our shoes and get back at it.”
Dannen Foraker finished with nine saves for Wheeling Park.