Local Sports, Morgantown, Sports

MHS boys’ soccer season ends with 3-2 loss to Wheeling Park

WHEELING — It’s been said that revenge is a dish best served cold. Such was the case Thursday night.

After falling to Morgantown High in last season’s sectional championship, the Patriots came back a year later to end the Mohigans’ season, 3-2, at chilly Wheeling Island Stadium in the Region I, Section 1 final.

In an ironic twist, it was the same score between the two schools last season, only this time it’s Wheeling Park advancing to the Region I finals.

The Patriots (15-3-4) will host University High at 5 p.m. Tuesday for the right to advance to the state tournament.

“We didn’t get off to the start that we wanted, but it wasn’t because we weren’t trying. Morgantown countered us and got that first goal,” Wheeling Park head coach Mario Julian said. “That first half was probably the best my team has played all year. We seemed to possess the ball a lot. We got three goals and were knocking on the door for a few more.”

The Mohigans (9-7-5) struck first when Riley Brabson one-timed a beautiful cross from Alex Tadros in the middle of the sixth minute. Tadros lofted the ball from deep on the left wing and Brabson banged it home from low in the box on the first shot of the match.

Top-seeded Wheeling Park responded with three unanswered net-finders as Tresz McLeod recorded the natural hat trick. The junior tied things up just two minutes after Morgantown’s goal when his shot — the Patriots initial attempt of the match — from low in the box glanced off the fingers of Mohigans goalkeeper Tyler Crites and trickled across the goal line just inside the post to his right. Brody Wall was credited with the assist.

Late in the 17th minute, the elusive and speedy McLeod possessed the ball with his back to the net and a defender right on him in the middle of the field. He quickly spun to his right and let loose a left-footed laser from 20 yards out that zipped past a diving Crites and tickled the twine for a 2-1 advantage. Hayden Barbour earned the assist.

Wheeling Park goalkeeper made sure it remained that way with a pair of outstanding saves. In the 24th minute, the sophomore leaped high into the air to make a save in heavy traffic. Six minutes later, he charged out of his net and knocked the ball away from harm’s way with a sliding effort as Tadros was coming hard.

McLeod completed his hat trick when he headed a corner kick from Manual Juanez past Crites in the 34th minute. Juanez sent the ball towards the net and the smallish McLeod got up high enough to get his head on it and direct it just inside the post to Crites right.

“I just worked my tail off and we played together. If we play together as a family, we’re going to get the win,” McLeod said.

He said the header is a result of he and his brother — sophomore Rynder — working hard.

“We practice crosses and headers all the time. Just me and him,” Tresz said.

“He’s special. His speed is outstanding and his foot skills are off the charts,” Julian said of McLeod. “He can finish and I’m glad I’ve got him for another season after this.”

Morgantown made it a one-goal deficit early in the second half when James Percifield scored in the 49th minute. Colin Petsko had the helper.

Border came up huge once again in the 56th minute as he came out of the net to smother the ball with Tadros bearing down on him.

The Patriots nearly scored in the 62nd minute when Ike Aderholt headed the ball past a charging Crites and towards the empty net. However, the Mohigans’ Samuel Pacyna headed it away.

Both teams saw golden chances to score late in the match go by the wayside. Morgantown’s Joel Beeson sent a free kick from 45 yards out deep into the crease where Border punched it over the crossbar. Then, McLeod’s bid for a fourth tally was deflected away by a diving crites.

“Wheeling Park goes full-tilt effort after second balls and they beat us to a couple of second-balls on set pieces after we got our goal,” Morgantown head coach Samuel Snyder said. “They kind of blitzed us. They scored three on us. “We made some adjustments at halftime that got us back in it, but three goals is hard to come back from.”

Wheeling Park held a commanding 28-13 advantage in shots. Crites charted five saves, while Border made 10.

“The second half Gavin was tested three or four times and he stepped up. Earlier in the season those types of shots would go in, but he has worked hard and it showed tonight.”