OVAC?Soccer Cup tourney opens Monday

St. Clairsville qualified both its high school soccer teams for the 2013 OVAC Cup.

The Lady Red Devils (7-3) received the No. 7 seed and will meet second-seeded Wheeling Park (8-3) in the quarterfinals Thursday on the familiar Red Devil Stadium turf at 5 p.m. Top-seeded Morgantown (6-0-3) and No. 8 Parkersburg South clash in the nightcap of the doubleheader at 7. Those two winners meet Saturday at 10 a.m. on the Wheeling Island Stadium carpet.

“I was surprised that we were seeded No. 7,” first-year St. Clairsville girls’ head coach Wes Stoner admitted. “But, it is a good field of teams.”

The Lady Patriots put a 3-0 whipping on the Red Devils a week ago on the artificial surface at Red Devil Stadium.

When asked what he can use from the setback his squad took the first time around to help Thursday, he replied, “Everything that we did wrong in that game we need to fix to compete with them and keep it close.

“It’s not going to be easy, but we’ve shown a lot of improvement since we played them,” he added. “This is a different team now. The girls are gaining confidence in the new systems. They’re getting more comfortable doing what we’ve been trying to teach them, and we switched some players around. Nothing major though.”

It also helps to be playing on their home field.

“We should have a little of an advantage,” Stoner continued. “We should have a good crowd that will make a lot of noise and get loud.”

Last year St. Clairsville pulled off the shocker as the seventh-seed ousted No. 2, and unbeaten, Wheeling Central by a stunning 4-0 count, also at Red Devil Stadium.

“We’ve talked to the girls a little about that,” he explained. “Any big win that this program has had in the past, we’ve talked about and hope it will give us a confidence boost.

Senior Eberle Ferrell leads the Red Devils in scoring with six goals and a team-high nine assists for 15 points. Carlee Gillespie has a team-best 10 goals and four helpers. Brianna Sowers has stood tall between the pipes. She had 25-plus saves in the first meeting.

St. Clairsville’s three losses have all come to W.Va. teams. In addition to Wheeling Park, the Red Devils were also blanked by Brooke and Linsly who are seeded No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, and will meet No. 5 Wheeling Central (9-4) at 7 Tuesday, also at St. Clairsville. Brooke will meet No. 6 Madonna Thursday at 7. Those survivors advance to Saturday’s noon semifinal at Wheeling Island Stadium.

The girls’ finals are slated for 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 30, also on the Island.

Boys’ head coach Gary Watt will be seeking a reversal in last year’s quarterfinals when Wheeling Park knocked off the third-seeded Red Devils, 4-0, at soggy Brooke Memorial Stadium in Wellsburg.

The Patriots (8-1-2) are the No. 3 seed this time around and will meet sixth-seeded St. Clairsville (7-3-1) in the nightcap of Wednesday’s twin offering at 7 in Wellsburg. No. 2 Morgantown (8-1) meets No. 7 Weir (6-4-1) at 5. Those winners advance to semifinal action Saturday at 4 p.m. on the Island.

“This is the exact same draw that we got last year, with the exception that the seeds are flipped this season,” Watt noted. “They are a very good and experienced team, while I wouldn’t call us a rebuilding team, but we are still very young.”

The other bracket features top-seeded Steubenville Central (10-0) clashing with No. 8 East Liverpool (5-4-1) at 5 Monday, with No. 4 Steubenville (7-2) and fifth-seeded Linsly (8-3) meeting at 7. Those winners meet Saturday at 2 on the Island. The boys’ final is Monday, Sept. 30 at 5:30.

The Red Devils have been led in scoring by junior Zach Oliver and seniors Taylor Wissmann and Ty Boone. Senior Izaac Wiley is a veteran goalkeeper.