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Red Riders claim city crown

September 18, 2012
By FRED YOUNCE - Sports writer ( , The Herald-Star

WEIRTON - There was no score for 66 minutes and 50 seconds of Monday's Weirton girls soccer City Championship game at Jimmy Carey Stadium between Weir and Madonna.

Then, with 13:10 left in regulation, a laser off the foot of Weir's Morgan Cassels broke the standoff and ultimately gave the Lady Riders the city title with a 1-0 win.

"That was big, especially since it was Morgan Cassels," said Weir head coach Jessica Naughton. "She hit the post on one. She was just so close, and it felt like it was just a matter of when it was going to happen.

Article Photos

CITY CHAMPS — The Weir girls soccer team poses with the Weirton City Championship trophy following its 1-0 win over Madonna Monday at Jimmy Carey Stadium. Morgan Cassels scored the game-winning goal with 13:10 left for the Lady Riders.
-- Fred Younce

"She did a great job in the middle, and she hustled her butt off. That was probably one of the best games I've seen her play."

Weir controlled a majority of the game's offensive action, but a combination stout goalkeeping by the Lady Dons' Amy Davis, some key clears by defenders, and a few narrow misses kept the game tied.

"If you look at the first 10 minutes of the game we were very aggressive," said Madonna head coach Bob Kolanko. "We went to the ball, we controlled the ball, we kept it up in the attacking end. Then they, all of the sudden, started winning every 50-50 ball.

"They were more aggressive than we were, and we played probably 70 minutes of this game in our own defensive end, which is very difficult to do. To be down there 70 minutes and only give up one goal is a tremendous effort by our defense."

Madonna had a near miss of its own late in the second half when a free kick off the foot of Rachel Grubbs just deflected high off the cross bar to keep the game tied. That was one of the few times goaltender Alyssa Kelly and her defense were threatened.

The goal came when Cassels made a nice effort to create space about 10 yards out and to the left of the net, and blasted the shot over the head of Davis and into the top right corner.

The Lady Riders closed things out from there, and celebrated the hard earned victory over their rivals. A victory Naughton said means a lot to her squad.

"It feels great just because of these seniors," she said. "I've been here with them for four years and this means a lot to them. They feel like they don't lose to Madonna in the city championship, this is ours.

"For them I'm glad. Madonna has been playing well. They've been playing great, and this is a nice win for us. It helps out for OVAC too."

Weir travels to Wheeling Central Thursday while Madonna heads to Edison Wednesday.

"We have a lot of work to do in the next couple games," said Kolanko. "We'll see Weir High one more time in the sectionals, and we'll get ready to play them then."

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