WHEELING - With powerful Weir paying a trip to Holloway Field on Thursday afternoon, Linsly's boys' soccer team and Coach Eric Fries knew that the Cadets were going to have to be at the top of their game.
With precision passing, dominant ball control, and the inspiration of a stricken teammate in their hearts and on their minds, that is exactly what they did.
Junior Tim Chung blasted a 30-yard rocket into the back corner of the net 17 minutes into the game for the only goal the hosts needed and Linsly controlled play for much of the 40-minute contest in gaining a 3-1 victory against the Red Riders on Senior Night.
The game, as the season has been, was played in honor of senior Nikhil Dharawat who has been diagnosed with lymphoma. While Nikhil could not attend the contest, where a collection was taken and will be donated in his name, his father was there on his behalf to thank everyone.
Weir coach Joe Pepe also got his team into the spirit of things as the Red Rider players wore black wrist bands with Nikhil's number 14 on them.
"It's a game, but this is all about the kids," Pepe said about the well-received gesture.
As for the game itself, Linsly used an array of passes, kicks and moves, constantly leaving their guests lunging, sliding and kicking at balls that weren't there.
Chung's blast was picture-perfect, flying past diving Red Riders' keeper Matt Tenaglio and into the back corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.
With just over eight minutes to play in the opening half, senior Jamaal Ebanks caught up to a nice lead pass and buried it into the net from 10 yards away for a 2-0 lead at the break.
A little extra insurance came 15 minutes into the second half on sophomore Mason George's putback that upped the count to 3-0.
Weir (14-3-2) got its only goal of the contest with 13 minutes to play on a Kenny Muhart shot from deep in the box.
"We have really been hitting our stride recently," Fries said. "The guys were pretty upset about not making the OVAC Cup Tournament because we really feel like we are one of the best teams in the Ohio Valley.
"This was just absolutely wonderful and fantastic soccer and it is just so fun to watch. We did an outstanding job possessing the ball and moving around, and we finished well also.
"The kids just continue to battle. They were also very inspired by Nikhil, who couldn't be here, but who we have been playing for all season long. It was very nice that Dr. Dharawat (Nikhil's father) was able to be here."
For Pepe, it was something that he has seen in the past, but that has also been a wake-up call to his team.
"Sometimes you have to take two steps back before getting to where you want to go," Pepe said. "The last time we lost to Linsly it put us back on track and we preceded to finish second in the state. Hopefully we can get to that place again.
"We just didn't play our game (Thursday). They passed the ball very well and had great time of possession, and we are normally the team that does that. We did it against Wheeling Park and University and most of the other teams we beat.
"This team has a lot of character, we just didn't show it (Thursday), but we will get back to work and get ready for the tournament."