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Wheeling Park Girls Get Win Over Brooke

Photo by Kyle Lutz Wheeling Park’s Merritt Delk controls the ball during Wednesday’s game against Brooke.

WHEELING — The Wheeling Park girls soccer team couldn’t have started the 2020 season any better. After losing a plethora of seniors, the Patriots took the field at Wheeling Island Stadium playing a handful of underclassmen. They looked like anything but.

Five different Patriots found the back of the net with freshman Merritt Delk and junior Maya Taggart securing hat tricks as they rolled to a 12-1 victory over Brooke Wednesday evening.

“I’ve been excited all summer long, watching the girls condition,” Wheeling Park (1-0) coach Carrie Hanna said. “It’s amazing, we had so many seniors graduate last year. I was thinking about them all day (Wednesday), but I’m very excited about this freshmen class. They’re so fast and they’re so eager to learn. We really had a lot of great chemistry for the first game. A lot of great connections, combining and so many different people scoring, connecting and making things happen.”

It didn’t take long for Wheeling Park to find the back of the net as Adlie Abraham connected for the first goal of the season two and a half minutes into the contest. The sophomore finished with two goals.

Delk scored the next two goals to put the score at 3-0 with 25:25 remaining in the first half. She secured her hat trick with 23:17 left in the game.

After a Graceylyn Hanna and Kaylee Davis goal, Taggart got in on the scoring to put the score at 6-0 with 8:15 left. Davis, a sophomore and coming from off the bench, scored the final goal of the first half, her second of the night.

“They were young, but they were hungry,” Coach Hanna said. “I give all the credit to the older players. We really have a legacy here and bringing them in and making the younger players feel like part of the team, being one team right away and getting them comfortable and confident. We have a couple freshmen starting for us and you wouldn’t even know they were freshmen.”

The Bruins, though, started the second half fast. After forcing a turnover, Brooke Ohler was able to get behind the defense and received a perfect pass and kicked it into the back of the net for Brooke’s lone score of the night.

“The second half we started better,” Brooke (0-1) coach Elias Hannaoui said. “They came back and scored again. This is a good learning game for us and we’re definitely going to keep looking for improvement and hopefully we’ll get to see them again at the end of the season.”

About five minutes later, Graceylyn Hanna scored for the second time to put it at 8-1 with 33:07 remaining. The senior also dished out four assists.

After another goal by Abraham and Davis, Taggart put the final touches on the game scoring the final two and securing her hat trick.

Lily Hanna, a freshman dished out three assists while Emma Shelek finished with one.

Ryleigh Hicks compiled seven saves for the Patriots while Josephine Kulpa had three. For the Bruins, Franki Neff have seven saves.

“We have to continue to learn and continue to teach them those little details that’ll make a big difference,” Coach Hanna said. “We have the defending state champs already on Saturday. We’ll see where we stand facing Morgantown on Saturday.”

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