Park Girls Inspired In Victory Over JM
WHEELING — Wheeling Park coach Carrie Hanna knows what it takes to win a state championship and what she was seeing from her squad in Monday’s W.Va. Class AAA sectional semifinal wasn’t cutting it.
So, she pulled her entire starting lineup midway through the first half, which ignited the Patriots’ fire as they rolled to a 10-0 victory over John Marshall at Wheeling Island Stadium.
The win sends Park to the sectional final on Wednesday when it will host Morgantown.
“The message was ‘it doesn’t matter who we play, it’s how we play,'” Hanna said. “We weren’t playing up to our standards. We are at that point in the season where everybody knows their role.”
Park did jump out to a 2-0 lead in the first five minutes of action on two goals from sophomore standout Merritt Delk, the second coming on an assist from Mia Zecca, but over the next 17 minutes, the Patriots were quiet.
That was until the first play with the second team in the game as Kathryn Prather connected with teammate Caroline L’Ecuyer, who found the back of the net at 21:43.
“All credit to all the girls who came off the bench,” Hanna said. “When we did the complete line change, they went in and put the ball in the back of the net on a corner kick on the first play.”
The second team remained in the game for the rest of the half and Prather cashed in two times, the second drilling the post and flying past the keeper at 36:50 for a 5-0 cushion.
“Kathryn is just that type of player,” Hanna said. “She is so coachable, she works so hard, she brings it everyday and she listens to everything I say.
“In the beginning we were hitting it right to the keeper. We practice hitting side net so I told her to go in and do it. That second goal she had was a class volley. It was beautiful — upper 90, back post — it doesn’t get any more perfect than that. You love to see somebody who works and works capitalize on every opportunity they get.”
Finally, the starters returned rejuvenated and motivated in the second half.
Zecca delivered her second assist of the contest as she found Adlie Abraham who scored just 1:08 into action.
Then, Delk got going.
She netted a trio of goals over the next 20 minutes to finish with five goals in the match.
Abby Barki and Lucy Aderholt contributed assists on Delk’s goals.
Prather connected with Zecca for the final goal to send the Patriots to the next round.
“The starters fixed it,” Hanna said. “I told them what they needed to fix and everyone went in and fixed it and had a great game. They know when I get those eyes it’s ‘Go Time.’ So, they tuned in and executed what they needed to execute.”
The season ends for John Marshall and its three seniors Tessa Tordella, Riley McIntyre and Lauren Tekely.
“They are the defending state champs so it’s hard to come into their house and beat them,” JM coach Greg Evans said. “We played hard and didn’t give up so I’m really proud of the girls.
“Our seniors speak up and are even more vocal than me. They let the girls know what they are doing wrong and what they are doing well. They will definitely be missed.”