Local Sports, Sports, University

UHS boys’ soccer shut out by Wheeling Park in 6-0 loss

WHEELING — Wheeling Park continued its dominating play Tuesday night in boys’ high school soccer action. The end result: a trip to the West Virginia Class AAA state tournament in two weeks in Beckley.

The Patriots (15-3-4) found the net early and often once again as they scored on their first, third and eighth shots of the Region I championship match against University on the artificial surface inside Wheeling Island Stadium. The Section I titlists added three more goals in a 6-0 victory — their third this season — over the Section II champion Hawks (8-11-4).

“We stressed that we had to start fast and we knew once we got going there was no stopping us,” Wheeling Park head coach Mario Julian said. “The team is coming together very well. We are connecting passes. We’ve got great scorers in Tresz (McLeod) and the freshman Wilson (Hanna). Brody Wall also had a great game.

“It’s been a couple of years since we’ve been to the state tournament,” Julian added. “But this group is special.”

High-scoring Tresz McLeod tallied two goals and helped on three others, drawing a lot of praise from Julian.

“I think he is the best player in the state,” Julian said of his junior forward. “Any time you take a player with you down to Beckley, I like our chances. He’s special. He’s an elite athlete but he is also a great teammate. He tries to get the rest of the team involved. He doesn’t care who scores, as long as the team wins.”

Manual Juanez got the scoring started when he blasted the ball past University goalkeeper Connor Montgomery, the grandson of legendary John Marshall baseball coach Bob Montgomery, on Wheeling Park’s initial shot. McLeod set it all up when he dribbled the ball deep into the left wing before sending a cross to the center of the box and Juanez one-timed it.

Five minutes later, freshman Wilson Hanna, son of Patriot girls head coach Carrie, headed a cross from McLeod into the cage for a 2-0 reading.

Ike Aderholt got into the scoring column in the 10th minute as he finished a corner kick from Juanez as the margin increased to 3-0.

McLeod recorded his first net-finder when he headed in a Michael Blanton assist to make it 4-0 in the 33rd minute. Brody Wall took a pass from McLeod in the 39th minute and rolled it along the turf and into the net as the Patriots led 5-0 at the break.

Subbing freely throughout the second half, Wheeling Park completed the scoring when McLeod found the net again in the 47th minute.

University had a golden opportunity to break up the shutout in the waning moments, but Wheeling Park backup goalkeeper Brock Hinebaugh was up to the task for his lone save of the match.

“They started faster than we did and they seemed to want it more than we did,” University head coach Michael Smith said. “When you dig yourself a hole against a team like that, that is what happens.”

Wheeling Park fired

25 shots on Montgomery, 21 of those in the first 40 minutes. The junior netminder finished with 18 saves. The Patriots’ Gavin Border charted four saves.

The Patriots haven’t won a Class AAA state title since 2001. They have been runner ups in 2017, 2010, 2008 and 2002.

The state tournament is set for Nov. 4-5 at the YMCA Youth Sports Complex in Beckley. The Class AAA semifinals are set for 10 a.m. with the top seeded team face the No. 4 seed. Thirty minutes after the completion of that match, the other semifinal will be contested. The championship match will be Saturday at 10:30 a.m. All matches are on Cline Field.

By Kim North