WHEELING - Despite a rebuilding effort that saw a number of seniors depart, Weir is making another return to Beckley for the West Virginia State Soccer Tournament.
Connor Addison scored the game-winner off a free kick in the 54th minute and the Weir defense stood tall as the Red Riders held off Tyler Consolidated, 2-1, to claim the Class AA/A Region One championship Thursday at Wheeling Island Stadium.
''It feels great to go back down there,'' Weir coach Joe Pepe said. ''A lot of people were really worried after we lost eight seniors. These kids did a great job and I'm very proud of them. They have a lot of character.''
Tyler Consolidated’s Matthew Goudy (2) and Weir’s Alex Hannah battle Thursday.
Photo by Josh Strope
After going to a shootout to beat Wheeling Central on Monday in the regional semifinal, the last thing Pepe wanted to do was to see another contest go the distance.
For a short while, it looked like it might head that way.
Trailing 1-0 entering the second half, Tyler Consolidated came out of the locker room the aggressor.
The Silver Knights made up for a ton of missed chances wide in the first half with an absolute rocket shot of a goal from junior Mario Mantecon.
Mantecon took a cross from Chris Postlethwait at the top of the box that was fired past Weir goalie Josh Barney so hard that it hit the post in the back of the net and came out as fast as it went in, tying the match in the 48th minute.
Tyler Consolidated stayed on the offensive but its first-half woes of shooting the ball wide or right at Barney continued.
As Weir was attacking, a foul put the ball 30 yards away from the Tyler Consolidated net.
Addison put the ball through the crowd and past Silver Knights goalie Skylar Kinnard into the lower right corner as Weir went back on top, 2-1.
''That was a great shot and one of those things we work on a lot are him taking kicks,'' Pepe said. ''It worked out good for us. I don't think the goalie thought it was going to go in.''
Weir kept on the offense most of the way, but Tyler Consolidated had some close calls late in the match.
In the 74th minute, off a corner kick, Dylan Romine had a chance to tie with Barney out of position, but his shot went over the net.
Minutes later, Romine fired a shot high that Barney was able to deflect high over the net. The ball hit the football goalposts and Johan Aasland fired it into the empty net, sending the Silver Knights into a celebration before the linesman waved the goal off.
''That has been the story of our season,'' Tyler Consolidated coach Scott Wall said. ''Our defense has been pretty solid but we have been looking for our offense all year long.
''We found a little bit (Thursday), but we didn't find enough.''
Kenny Muhart scored Weir's first goal in the 17th minute.