West Virginia girls blank Ohio in OVAC All-Star Game
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — For the last time in their prep soccer career, 34 senior girls suited up to represent their high school in the OVAC All-Star game Sunday afternoon at Red Devils Stadium.
While it was a special day for all athletes, it was an extra special one for Wheeling Central’s Kenadee Wayt and Parkersburg South’s Charley Mae Taylor.
Wayt, who became Wheeling Central’s all-time goal scorer and was named 1A/3A Player of the Year, tallied two goals in the second half while Taylor got the scoring going for the Mountain state with a pair of goals in the first half as West Virginia defeated Ohio 4-0.
“It was a good performance considering you’re bringing a bunch of girls together that have never played before,” West Virginia and Parkersburg South coach Ron Bucholtz said. “You got a couple on the team with each other, but the fact they don’t play as a team during the season, it took them a few minutes to get used to each other. From that point, they started to look very good. The possession was good, the combination of play, the movement and even the communication started to get better as they got more familiar with each other.”
Bucholtz was also named OVAC Coach of the Year.
About eight and half minutes into the contest, Taylor — who was also named 5A Co-Player of the Year — took a pass from University’s Ari Christiansen and buried the ball in the back of the net to put the score at 1-0.
The senior proved why she deserved the award as with less than five minutes to play, she secured her second goal of the afternoon.
“The Ohio team gave us a good game,” Bucholtz said. “Traditionally this game been a little bit one-sided. I’m glad to see the gap is closing in the competitiveness of the game. It’s good for the Ohio kids to come out and play a good game. They held their own. (Alyssa) Otto from St. Clairsville did a great job. They got her free several times and fortunately Corinne Grabow of University was Johnny-on-the-Spot and stuffed her on three breakaways in a row late in the first half. That kept that game interesting and kept the shutout in line. I was very pleased with what I saw.”
In one of those instances, Otto had an open look at the net with about nine minutes to play in the first half. but Grabow read her perfectly.
With Otto’s shot on goal, the ball hit off of Grabow’s hands. However, the ball did get past the goalkeeper, but with the deflection, the ball was off target and the shutout was kept in tact.
The second half saw more of the same.
With 31:18 left in the game, Oak Glen standout and 4A Player of the Year Maggie Kovalcik dished out a pass to Wayt as she found the back of the net.
Wayt scored her second goal about 20 minutes later as she took a pass from Taylor to make it 4-0.
“It’s always a fun atmosphere,” Ohio and Steubenville coach Jared Robinson said. “It’s really great to see these girls come out here and get to play after their hard work for however many years they’ve been playing. Just to come together and celebrate all their achievements and their hard work. It’s a nice thing to be a part of and it’s a good time for them.”
Mackenzie Orban of Indian Creek and Jacqueline Francis of Beaver Local played goalie for the Ohio team as Orban made five saves while Francis had four. On the West Virginia side, Wheeling Park’s Deanna Crumm had one save while Grabow secured five.
The MVP awards for the game were renamed the Chuck Robinson Memorial Offensive and Defensive MVP Award.
Otto (offense) and Steubenville’s MaKayla Crownover (defense) were honored on the Ohio side while Taylor (offense) and University’s Stephanie Chmiel received the awards for West Virginia.
Weir’s Julia Gianni, who also played in the game, was named 5A Co-Player of the Year along with Taylor.