WHEELING - For the last four seasons, Wheeling Park and Linsly's girls' soccer teams have met up at Wheeling Island Stadium in early October not just for a city-rivalry, but for a great cause, The Breast Cancer Awareness Game.
Thursday night they did it again and as usual the game turned into not only one of great reward, but also of outstanding play on the field.
It took the Patriots nearly 67 minutes to finally get on the board, but, seniors Ashley Grove and Meghan Horan both scored just four minutes apart late in the second half and the Wheeling Park defense held on for a hard-fought 2-1 victory against the Cadets on the Island turf.
Coach Aubrey Taylor's Patriots, who had been unable to bounce back from early deficits in their last two games, improved to 9-4-2 on the campaign, while Erica Hall watched her Cadets dip to 9-4-1.
The difference in the first half came via the foot of Kureishy. Both the Patriots and Cadets each had just one shot on goal during the opening 40 minutes, but Kureishy made Linsly's count.
With 22 seconds remaining in the half, Kureishy's bullet from 20 yards out beat Wheeling Park junior keeper Devyn Nickerson to the near corner to give the visitors the upper hand at the break.
While the Patriots were able to keep the ball on Linsly's side of the field for most of the opening half, it took 30 minutes for the hosts to get off their first shot, which was defended by freshman Morgan Brunner.
Wheeling Park had a great opportunity with 28 minutes to play when a shot skimmed off the top post and back down into play where a rebounded shot was also off the mark.
The Patriots missed another golden chance with a little more than 15 minutes to play when a direct kick from 24 yards out again ricocheted off the top bar with a put-back collected up by Brunner for the save.
With 13:26 showing, Park finally capitalized with sophomore Briella Taylor's kick being put into net on senior Ashley Grove's header, deep in the box, and a 1-1 deadlock.
And after trailing for much of the contest, the eventual game-winner came with 9:09 on the clock when senior Meghan Horan lofted a direct kick high into the air and over Brunner's head on a free kick from 22 yards away for the prized 2-1 lead.
"The girls really showed a lot of guts (Thursday)," Taylor said.
"We have had to fight back from being down in our last three games, but this is the only one we bad it back on.
"The girls just had a lot of energy and focus to do the right things to win. We did a good job keeping the ball on their end of the field for most of the game, but we do that a lot. Normally we just aren't able to score as much as we want to.
"Defensively we were very strong, we stayed calm and did a good job moving the ball around. And it was also nice to limit their shots."
In all, Wheeling Park managed to get off eight shots on goal while Linsly had just one in each half.
"We came out hard the first 10 minutes of the game," Hall said. "And I am really not sure what even happened on their first goal, but they got a real nice burst and played very hard after that.
"And Meghan Horan's free kick goal was just absolutely gorgeous. Give Wheeling Park a lot of credit. They did a real nice job pressuring us. I also felt that Morgan Brunner did an outstanding job in the net for us."