Morgantown Quiets Central
WHEELING — Sometimes in sports the cream simply rises to the top, and no matter how well the other team plays they are not able to come away with a victory.
Such was the case Monday night as a bigger, faster and more experienced Morgantown team forced its will on Wheeling Central in a girls’ soccer match, even though Maroon Knights’ Head Coach Charlie Schlegel claimed that his team had “played its best game of the season.”
After watching Central junior keeper Liz Romanek knock away their initial seven shots of the contest, the Mohigans got first half goals from senior Michaela August and sophomore Emily Carpenter to take control and never look back in gaining a 6-0 verdict over the Maroon Knights at their 16th Street complex.
“We knew going in that we could be in for a tough night, but I told the team at the end that was the best we have played all season,” Schlegel admitted. “Actually, we just beat East Liverpool 10-0 last Saturday and we didn’t play as well in that one as we did (Monday).”
It took a while for Coach Stirlin Rivers’ Morgantown squad to figure out Romanek, who made a number of quality saves in the initial 25 and a half minutes of play. Included in that was a great, one-handed, save at the 13-minute mark that kept the visitors off the board for the moment.
However, Romanek, who logged 23 saves in the contest, came up inches short of turning away another threat when August’s blast, deep in the box, went off of her fingertips and into net for a 1-0 lead at the 26:35 mark of the first. It took just six minutes for the Mohigans to get the second when Carpenter got free and beat Romanek one-on-one to the corner of the net to make it 2-0 at 20:16.
“Coming in we talked about mental strength,” Schlegel added. “We wanted to hold them off as long as possible and make them earn everything they got. Unfortunately, those first two goals in the first half came because we were out of position and made mistakes.”
Morgantown made it 3-0 at the 5:02 mark of the second on a laser from junior Cloe Ratliff from 20 yards away that bounced off the back of a Central player and found its way into the net.
The Maroon Knights’ (3-9) only shot on goal came at the 24-minute mark of the second half was turned away by Mohigans’ keeper Madysen Scheller. The visitors then made sure there was going to be no miracle comeback, scoring the final three goals in just less than an eight-minute span.
Junior Zofia Sabolsky booted a loose ball into net at 25:51 followed by two goals from freshman Railey Reeves, one on a rebounded shot and another off a chip shot deep in the box that pushed the count to 6-0.
“Our goal coming in was to be as patient as possible and play keep away from them,” Rivers said. “We knew who our opponent was, and we weren’t interested in coming in here and just scoring a bunch of goals. It was all about move, pass and deliver and I am happy at how we did that.
“We have a big game with University (Tuesday) and because of that I was able to rest five or six players (Monday) and let everybody get some good playing time and good experience.
“Defensively we did a good job, even though we made a mistake or two in the back, but we kept going and kept the pressure on them. You have to give their keeper a lot of credit, she kept them in the game and allowed them to keep pushing.”
Morgantown finished with a whopping 29-1 advantage in shots on goal and continually played keep away from Wheeling Central, allowing the Maroon Knights only one or two touches when they were able to get the ball on offense.
“We have three basketball players on this team that had never played soccer before this year, but as a team these girls are starting to believe in themselves,” Schlegel added. “But our goal has to be to continue to play like we did (Monday). I can’t say enough about the job Liz (Romanek) did in the net, not only saving shots but delivering the ball. She is a great player and more than capable of playing at the next level.”
Wheeling Central returns to action back on the home turf Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. when they host Steubenville Catholic Central in an important Ohio Valley Athletic Conference matchup.
Morgantown improved to 5-2 with the victory, its only losses coming by one goal each to defending West Virginia Class AAA state champion Wheeling Park and runner-up Parkersburg South.