NEW MANCHESTER - Two counterattack goals resulted in victory.
The Oak Glen boys soccer team netted a goal in each half en route to a 2-0 victory over Hancock County rival Weir in a West Virginia Class AA/A Region 1 Section 1 Semifinal Monday at the Oak Glen Multi Sport Complex.
"It was a very-good night," Oak Glen (12-7) head coach Aaron Bennett said. "The kids played their hearts out at the end of the season, and they didn't stop tonight. Weir is our archrival. They are talented all the time."
With the win, Oak Glen will play in the sectional final at 4 p.m. Saturday at home.
Weir (7-10-3) outshot Oak Glen in the game, but the Golden Bears were able to score two goals to win the match.
"That has been our problem all year - finishing and scoring," Weir head coach Joe Pepe said. "When we get chances to finish and score, they are not on net."
The loss was the Red Riders' first in sectional play in several seasons.
"I am proud of the team," Pepe said. "We had three seniors. They did a good job with leadership. We have a young team. They played really well. I can't complain.
"They hustled. They moved the ball well. They represented Weir soccer well. We will be back. Sometimes you have to take three steps back to get to where you want to go and that is down to states."
Devin Polen and Nathan Fryer recorded goals for the Golden Bears. Polen's goal was unassisted. Fryer's goal came off of a rebound.
Nate Bennett tallied 21 saves in goal for the Golden Bears.
"He made several big saves," Coach Bennett said. "He has plays well all the time."
Matt Tenaglio ended up making eight saves for the Red Riders.
The Red Riders controlled the ball for most of the game, while the Golden Bears were content to sit back and wait for the counterattack. In the end, Oak Glen turned two of those counterattacks into goals.
"The key was we passed the ball well," Coach Bennett said. "We wanted to play the ball over the top and counterattack."
Polen netted Oak Glen's first goal with22:30 minutes left to play in the first half.
Polen broke free on a breakaway. Tenaglio came out to challenge him, and Polen was able to get his shot past the keeper. A Red Rider defender attempted to clear the ball out before it rolled into the goal, but he was unable to do so as the Golden Bears took a 1-0 lead.
Late in the first half, the Red Riders were awarded a free kick just outside the penalty box. The Golden Bears defended the kick by having all 11 players on the field inside of the box. The initial shot was blocked by the wall, and Oak Glen was eventually able to clear the ball out of harm's way.
The Red Riders continued to push forward to try and score the equalizer, while the Golden Bears continued to sit back, play defense and wait for an opportunity to counter attack.
Oak Glen netted an insurance goal with less than 10 minutes to play in the match.
Cullen Bennett got off a shot, but Tenaglio made the save, but the keeper was unable to corral the rebound. The loose ball squirted free, and Fryer was able to get his foot on it and knock into the back of the net giving the Golden Bears a 2-0 advantage with 7:07 left to play.
The game was the final one for Weir's three seniors Alex Hannah, Ryan Dragonir and Tenaglio.
"The seniors have meant a lot to this team over the four years," Pepe said. "They always provided good leadership. The three seniors knew there were going to be some growing pains, and I want to thank the seniors for their patience during the growing pains.
"We did well. We had a good run. We scheduled teams with a lot of horses. We played Morgantown, University, Wheeling Park and Linsly, and we didn't back down from any of them.
"We stayed strong. We moved the ball. We controlled the field.
"I am very-proud of my coaching staff. They worked hard with the boys as did I. It's always tough to lose. You have to learn how to lose so you know what it takes to win."
Weir made it down to the state tournament in 2010 and 2011, and the Red Riders lost in the regional tournament last year. Weir lost nine seniors from last year's team.
"Oak Glen moved the ball well," Pepe said. "They are quick. They are a senior-dominated team. They were the better team tonight. Take nothing away from Oak Glen.
"They hustled. They played hard. You can't take anything away from Oak Glen. They are where we want to be."
Weir's Kristian Fuchs was injured late in the game. He was hit in the face by the ball with just five seconds left to be played in the game. He was done on the ground for several minutes before being helped off the field.
"I don't like to see anybody got hurt," Coach Bennett said.
The Golden Bears also defeated the Red Riders during the regular season.
"We are going to be resting," Coach Bennett said. "We are going to have a couple good practices. Hopefully, we play this way again on Saturday."