WHEELING - The St. Clairsville Lady Red Devils' quest for the OVAC Soccer Cup came to a screaching halt Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Red Devils found their way out of a 2-0 halftime deficit, but watched Brooke score the final three goals of the game in a 7:53 span to pull out a 5-2 victory on Wheeling Island Stadium in the OVAC semifinals.
"We came out a little flat, but we made a comeback and then Brooke made some plays," said Lady Devils' head coach Scott Dutton. "That's the way soccer goes sometimes."
ST. CLAIRSVILLE’S Carlee Gillespie (8) and Haley Skukan (9) battle with a Brooke player for possession of the ball during the OVAC?Soccer semifinals Saturday. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
The win places Brooke into Monday evening's OVAC Cup Final against Morgantown, which was a 1-0 winner against Linsly in the opening game Saturday morning. St. Clairsville's regular season is complete at 9-6. It'll next see action in Ohio sectional play.
"At times we played really well, but at other times we had a couple of mental breakdowns and didn't do the right things tactically," said Brooke head coach Lee Weppler. "Give St. Clairsville a lot of credit because they really battled and never quit."
Staring up at the 2-0 deficit, St. Clairsville found its back against the wall with just 40 minutes remaining in the game.
The Lady Red Devils got into the scoring act with 36:40 showing on the clock when Eberle Ferrell lofted a beautifully placed kicked just over the keeper's head into the back of the net from about 35 yards out.
Seizing more and more momentum as the game remained played in their end of the field, the Lady Devils struck again some 20 minutes later when Taryn Barr beat the keeper to the short side for the deadlock.
"It's a soccer game, you never know what's going to happen," Dutton said. "We felt really good after tied it because it is tough to come back in a soccer game, but we just couldn't keep it going."
He was exactly right, too.
Less than five minutes later, Brooke executed a textbook corner kick by freshman Cheyenne Hudson and junior Michaela Hinerman beat St. C. keeper Brianna Sowers to the wide side with a header. It was her second goal of the contest.
"I am proud of how our goals responded after St. Clairsville tied the game," Weppler said. "They battled and finished strong."
Weppler wasn't at all surprised by the execution of the Hudson's corner kick.
"Cheyenne plays those balls in there and she's consistent, so we know where she's going to play them," Weppler said. "At that point, it's just a matter of making the play and fortunately, for us, Michaela made the play."
Brooke pushed the lead back to 4-2 about seven later when Dynah Sayre scored on a rebound goal. Sayre then scored as she caught St. C. slightly out of position and made it pay with the hat trick tally.
"Our goal scoring has been pretty spread out, but Dynah and Michaela are our leaders," Weppler said. "We know St. Clairsville's system with the flat 4 and trapping. We worked hard in practice on getting balls out wide to make their goalie commit and make a decision."