WHEELING -Brooke has had a flare for the dramatic during this season's OVAC Cup Tournament, but Coach Lee Weppler and the Bruins will take it any way they can get it.
Brooke is returning to the OVAC Cup final for the fourth time in five seasons after a 5-2 victory against St. Clairsville in the semifinals Saturday at Wheeling Island Stadium.
Brooke led 2-0 heading into halftime after goals from Dynah Sayre and Michaela Hinerman. But despite the two-goal lead, the Bruins couldn't put the Red Devils away.
Brooke’s Michaela Hinerman battles with St. Clairsville’s Tyler Jordan for the ball during the OVAC?Cup semifinals Saturday at Wheeling Island Stadium. The Bruins earned a 5-2 victory and will face Morgantown at 7:30 p.m. on the same turf for the championship.
-- Josh Strope
St. Clairsville's Eberle Ferrell put St. Clairsville on the board with a goal off a direct kick in the 44th minute and Taryn Barr's turnaround shot knotted the score in the 64th.
For the second straight game, it was the play of a freshman that might have saved the day for the Bruins.
Cheyenne Hudson's corner kick in the 69th minute found the head of Hinerman, as the junior buried the ball past St. Clairsville goalie Brianna Sowers to regain a lead at 3-2.
"Another great ball by Cheyenne," Weppler said. "You know where she is going to place them and she is consistent. It's just a matter of the girls getting to where they need to be.
"That was a credit to Michaela for being where she needed to be and a credit to Cheyenne for putting it where it needed to be."
Brooke put the nail in the coffin in the 75th minute. Hinerman's blast from outside the box was pushed aside by a diving Sowers, but Sayre was there to clean up the rebound and put the Bruins in front 4-2.
Less than a minute later, Sayre beat Sowers to the pass on a through ball, dribbled around the goalie and scored into an empty net to complete a hat trick.
Sowers, who plays up far away from her net, was beaten twice in similar fashion in the first half, having to backtrack to get back in position.
"We have played St. Clairsville and we know their system," Weppler said. "They play a flat-back four and they trap to try and force the offsides. We worked hard really hard in practice to get the balls to the outside to get them off track and to commit by coming off their line. They did a great job of executing the game plan."
"Brooke is a tough team and you'll have that," St. Clairsville coach Scott Dutton said. "Things happen. The goals gave us a lot of momentum. It's hard to come back from a 2-0 deficit but we just couldn't keep the momentum going. Brooke did a nice job."
Brooke advances to face Morgantown at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Wheeling Island Stadium. The Mohigans won their previous match, 4-0.
"We have played them and they are the big dogs in the state," Weppler said. "We are going to come out and be ready to give them a game on Monday."