Beaver Local’s Hilliard named Ohio defensive MVP in OVAC All-Star game
ST. CLAIRSVILLE–Both teams left it all on the field in the final high school soccer match of their careers in the OVAC All-Star Game on Sunday.
Wheeling Park senior Lauren Schultz made it a night to remember as she collected a hat trick in the first 14 minutes of the contest and earned the Offensive MVP Award for her team as she led West Virginia over Ohio by a 7-1 count at St. Clairsville.
“I knew Lauren was going to score,” West Virginia coach Elias Hannaoui of Brooke said. “It only took 30 seconds into the match for her to score her first goal.”
Taylor Quickle of Madonna also recorded a hat trick and West Virginia goalkeeper Sophia Miller, of Parkersburg South, collected 10 saves in the win to earn the Defensive MVP for the Mountaineers.
“She had some awesome saves and saved a penalty kick during the game,” Hannaoui said. “Both Miller and Schultz are well deserving of the MVP awards. They played their best and it was fun watching them.
“They are very talented and I am sure they will do fine in college and I wish them all good luck.”
Schultz took over the game as soon as it began as she controlled the ball, darted downfield and fired a shot into the net 30 seconds into the action.
Just more than a minute later, Schultz struck again as she gathered a rebound from a shot that went off the post and blistered a shot past the Ohio keeper for an early 2-0 edge.
The Park standout delivered her third of the match at the 26:43 mark of the first half on a penalty kick to give West Virginia a 3-0 cushion.
After Schultz’s dominating start, Quickle delivered just as strong of a finish. She collected a pass from Madonna teammate Abriana Fuscardo and rifled it into the back of the net.
Quickle was set up by Schultz on the next score, as the Patriots’ leader intercepted a pass and outraced the defense. Moments later, Quickle found the ball and buried it in the back of the goal.
Linsly’s Clare Miller got into the scoring column as well in the 37th minute of the first half as the crowd erupted for the senior Cadet.
Quickle netted her third tally at the midway point of the second half.
“These girls are very talented,” Hannaoui said. “It is an honor for me to be here as their head coach.
“Coming into this, we knew we should be able to control the game because Wheeling Park won the OVAC and Wheeling Central have both dominated the Ohio Valley. They all represented their schools well.”
Steubenville midfielder Seana Ragusa gave the Buckeye state its first and only goal of the match in the 20th minute of the second half as she received a pass from East Liverpool’s Chelsea Reynolds and lofted a perfect shot over the goalkeeper’s head and into the side of the net.
“It was a very nice goal,” Ohio coach Liz Connor of Beaver Local said. “We talked about that type of play at halftime. They executed the play very well.
“These girls all played amazing. They came together a lot in the second half and started clicking more. They are a fun group to coach.”
Ohio’s Offensive MVP went to Lilly Ritz of Cambridge, while Lexie Hilliard of Beaver Local garnered Defensive MVP honors.
At halftime, Wheeling Central’s Kenadee Wayt and coach Julie Barack were recognized as the Class A/3A Player and Coach of the Year.
St. Clairsville’s Alyssa Otto and coach Wes Stoner won the awards for the 4A level, while Wheeling Park’s Jada Taylor and coach Carrie Hanna earned the accolades for 5A.
Four years ago, Joe Pepe took over the boys’ soccer coaching job at Brooke.
In his first day on the job, he was joined by freshmen Konner Govey and Gage Barnhart. The trio went on to have a remarkable four years with the program and it concluded with a perfect ending Sunday at the OVAC All-Star Game.
Govey netted a pair of goals and provided an assist as the Pepe-coached West Virginia squad defeated Ohio in convincing fashion by an 8-2 count at St. Clairsville.
“It has been a great honor to coach them,” Pepe said. “Especially since when I started at Brooke four years ago, they started with me as freshmen. It is just a great honor to finish out our last game with them on the field.”
Six different players found the back of the net for the Mountaineers and along with Govey, University’s Rocky Palotta also garnered a pair of goals in the victory.
Weir goalkeeper Brett Hinchee of Weir gathered five saves, while Jacob Varner added one on the West Virginia side, while Ohio keeper, Sean Rataiczak of Caldwell, made 15 saves.
“He faced a lot of shots, unfortunately,” Ohio coach Joe Zirillo of Beaver Local said. “But he made some spectacular saves. He really showed his athleticism (Sunday). He did very well for us.”
Morgantown’s Alex Nelson put the Mountaineers on top early with a goal a little more than a minute into the contest.
Linsly was well represented in the match with defender Matt Dudich spoiling Ohio possessions all night, along with Manuel Suita, who picked up a goal in the 10th minute to give West Virginia a 2-0 advantage.
In the 25th minute, Palotta took over as he secured a pair of goals in a six-minute span and capped it off with a front flip to please the crowd.
The Buckeyes jumped on the board late in the first half as Beaver Local’s Josh Speelman sent a shot toward the top of the net and in to cut the halftime deficit to 4-1.
Speelman was named the Offensive MVP for Ohio.
A motivated Govey emerged early in the second half as he delivered a pair of goals in the first six minutes and supplied an assist to teammate Abel Knight of Morgantown to create a 7-1 cushion.
In the 36th minute, University’s Liam Theeke extended the lead to 8-1 before Ohio’s Ryan Delelles of Steubenville tallied the final goal of his outstanding high school career.
“It is an honor to be on the field with these guys,” Pepe said. “They are all talented players and that is why they are all stars.
“I had two great coaches with me on the sideline (Jesus Marin of John Marshall and Greg Martin of Linsly) and everyone did an excellent job.
“Ohio played their hearts out and I am proud of both teams.”
Nelson was named the Offensive MVP and Weir’s William Rice garnered the Defensive MVP Award for the Mountaineers, while Evan Naylor of Steubenville collected the Defensive MVP for Ohio.
“I told the guys before the game that we have a lot of talent,” Zirillo said. “We said take your opportunities when you get them and the goals will come but their goalkeeper made some good saves.”
“It was just fun watching them all coming here with so much talent on both teams. These are some of the best kids in the area.”
Steubenville Catholic’s Mikey Irvin won the Class A/3A Player of the Year Award, while Delelles took home the honors in 4A and Theeke was selected for 5A.