MORGANTOWN — On a stunning autumn night, the Trinity Christian soccer crew celebrated Homecoming in entrance of a packed home with their closing regular-season match towards a powerful Class AA Grafton squad.
Because it turned out, about half the gang went residence glad – all the way in which to Taylor County, because the Bearcats executed a strong recreation plan and capitalized on a first-half scoring probability to earn a well-deserved win in a tricky match towards the short-handed Warriors, 1-0.
Grafton (12-6-1) loved a determined possession benefit all through the intently contested first half, whereas Trinity (11-6-2) constantly seemed for fast counterattack alternatives. Nevertheless, neither crew was in a position to generate high quality probabilities of their offensive closing third.
The Bearcats hit a promising shot towards TCS keeper Ben Lohmann within the 21st minute, however midfielder Ethan Weaver’s rifled right-footed blast from the highest of the field sailed over the bar. The Warriors’ slippery junior Brock Shuba shook free on the precise facet, however his sharp-angle shot slid throughout the goalmouth and broad.
Lastly, a missed alternative for a transparent from the TC protection within the 28th minute led to the one aim of the match. Sophomore midfielder Brayden Bailey gathered a free ball on the left wing and shortly served a centering move onto the foot of onrushing ahead Jude Minard. Regardless of shut marking, the senior flicked a one-touch shot from 15 yards out that sailed into the highest nook for a top quality end and a 1-0 GHS lead.
Trinity almost knotted the rating within the closing minute after a beautiful build-up from central protection. A collection of well-connected passes lastly sprung senior ahead Charles Steptoe right into a slim sliver of house alongside the left finish of the field.
Defenders, Grafton keeper Tyler Clemm, and Steptoe converged on the nook of the penalty space, and the ball deflected out of the scrum and rolled agonizingly slowly throughout the goalmouth and barely broad of the deserted internet entrance.
Because the solar set and the temperature fell, Trinity, trailing by one, hoped to warmth up its sluggish offense by transferring dynamic sophomore midfielder Parker Hopkins right into a extra attacking posture, and likewise ramping up their exercise on 50-50 balls. And after a close to catastrophe within the 44th minute on a protracted direct kick that in some way bounced into the field onto the foot of Minard, who was stoned from point-blank vary by Lohmann, the Warriors seized the higher of the play for a strong stretch of the second half.
Hopkins performed a wonderful by ball to Steptoe, whose left-foot shot slid previous Clemm however curved simply broad. Then within the 56th minute, a 3rd consecutive free-kicked earned by a powerful midfield effort almost yielded the equalizer when the GHS keeper fumbled the lengthy service into the field, however he managed to recuperate and smother the free change.
The Bearcats shortly reestablished their dominance by the midfield behind proficient captain Landen Hulley, producing a collection of Grade-A scoring probabilities – every of which was turned away by athletic and basically textbook goalkeeping from Lohmann, who completed with 11 saves, six of which had been of the Grade-AA selection.
The Warriors mustered one closing flurry within the 76th minute when a free kick simply exterior the field was deflected broad for a nook. That set piece was floated dangerously into the field and located its supposed goal, however Steptoe’s sharp header was partially deflected by Clemm, who additionally amassed 11 saves, then sat tantalizingly near the aim line, however was swept away by the Bearcat protection. It was TC’s finest and final probability of the match.
Regardless of the loss, TC coach Dan Lohmann was greater than happy with the standard of play.
“We had been lacking some starters, after which we misplaced just a few extra to harm,” he defined, “so we requested a number of younger gamers to contribute many extra minutes at unfamiliar positions. We knew they’d be sturdy with possession, which put numerous stress on our again line and Ben to climate the storm and maintain us in it. It’s what we’ve anticipated of them and him all yr, and so they had been wonderful tonight.”
Though the Warriors have now dropped three of their final 4 video games, the energy of their opponents — College, Lewis County, East Fairmont and Grafton — was by design, all with a concentrate on the upcoming sectionals.
“We needed to ramp up the problem of our matches down the stretch as a method to put together for the playoffs,” Dan Lohmann mentioned. “Primarily based on our performances, and if we are able to heal up, I feel we’re prepared for sectionals, and we’re actually glad to be internet hosting our first match. It’s what we’ve performed all yr for, and now it’s time to maneuver ahead with confidence in our recreation.”
The No. 1 seeded Warriors start the sectional match at residence subsequent Thursday at 6 p.m. towards the winner of the Magnolia and Tyler Consolidated play-in match.
BY MARK SCHRAF