MORGANTOWN — Death, taxes and traffic jams around Milan Puskar Stadium an hour before WVU home football game kickoffs.
There are inevitable outcomes in this life and another one came last night on Pony Lewis Field, when the undefeated and top-ranked Morgantown girls soccer team hosted 1-10 John Marshall.
The Mohigans dominated as expected, winning 10-0 in a 58-minute shortened match, but there are plenty of productive or non-productive ways to win a game against an overmatched opponent, and according to first-year head coach Brianna Frontuto, her team avoided most of the pitfalls.
“We got through it without injury,” she said, “and we took care of business early, which allowed us to play a lot of girls for a lot of the game, which is always good. We did a nice job of connecting and finishing, and I thought for the most part we shared the ball pretty well. I didn’t see too many bad habits creep in.”
MHS (8-0-1), a top-20 team in MaxPreps national polls, jumped on the game against the outmanned Monarchs (1-11) early as freshman Nora Miller took a feed in the third minute from junior Ariana Borneo, drove across the top of the box to space, and lifted a right foot shot into the corner. A minute later, the speedy Borneo created space through midfield and then flicked a through ball to junior Lillian Staples, who calmly rolled her shot into the open corner for a 2-nil advantage. Ten minutes later, a Gracie Brown pass to Railey Reeves mirrored the Mohigans’ second goal, and when Emily Carpenter, Reeves, and Brown scored within the following three minutes, the final outcome was essentially assured.
In the 23rd minute, Brown zoomed past the JM defense for a breakaway goal, and Vanja Mueller stole a slow goal kick pass and buried a shot to make it 8-0. Perhaps the prettiest goal of the night came with 25 seconds left in the half, as Josie Johnson dribbled through midfield, tapped the ball to her right to open up a lane, then picked the corner with her right foot from just inside the 18 to make it 9-0 at the break.
Deep into the bench, and with some position-switching experiments in place, Morgantown ramped up their possession game in the second half and looked to set up certain players to put the finishing touch on this one. Finally, it was Borneo who weaved and danced and sped her way in, out, around and past the Monarch defense and deposited a left-footed shot into the side netting from the left corner of the box to stop the clock and seal the victory.
Pleased with her team’s performance, Frontuto was looking forward to continuing competing in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Tournament this Thursday at home.
“I didn’t really put the OVACs as a specific goal for this season,” she admitted, “because I’m still learning about our team and soccer in the region as well. The girls have really helped me get up to speed with who we play and how those teams approach the game.
“And since I knew I had some solid talent coming back I’ve tried not to change too much as far as formations and style, to maintain our chemistry and cohesiveness. We’re looking forward to doing our best to earn the chance to win championships, but really, we’re going to continue to take things one match at a time.
“It’s been working so far,” she smiled, “so we’ll keep doing what works.”
The Mohigans will host a to-be-determined opponent in an OVAC semifinal next Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
BY MARK SCHRAF