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September 29, 2013

East girls battle back; boys pull away

FAIRMONT — Both East Fairmont soccer teams had to battle their way in the second half on Saturday.

But in the end, neither of Oak Glen’s teams could overcome the Bees as the girls’ team tied, 3-3, and the boys’ squad won, 4-1.

Due to a miscommunication in scheduling, the girls’ game was actually played first. Coach Mark Harvath had to wake some of his girls up  and rush them to the field for the game, which was shortened for the misunderstanding. Each half was 35 minutes long rather than 40, and the halftime was only five minutes instead of 10, but East Fairmont fought through and tied the game within the last minute of play.

“There was a lot against us,” Harvath said. “The other team was prepared, and some of our girls were just rolling out of bed. Everything was against them, yet they still hung in there.”

The unusual routine for East Fairmont didn’t seem to have too much effect on the girls at the start of the game as Ashlyn Wright took a pass from her sister, Breana Wright, to score the game’s first goal just 2:10 into the game.

“It felt good,” Breana said of the pass to her younger sister. “We always joke about that. I usually get more opportunities to pass to her since she’s a forward.”

Continuing with their quick start, Haleigh McDougal scored a goal just 10 minutes later and put the Bees up 2-0.

The Golden Bears of Oak Glen wouldn’t let the shutout continue for long as Emily Bodo would take the ball all the way down the field and score one-on-one against Hannah Pride to cut the deficit in half.

Before the half, Oak Glen added another goal on the foot of Gabi Lemley with just under five minutes to play in the half.

“The girls came out with a little more pop in their step,” Harvath said of his team’s strong first-half play.

Harvath was happy to have Breana Wright back in the lineup after she’d been out for a few games with an injury.

And he would be even happier come the end of the game.

With just 7:22 left in the game, Oak Glen’s Desirae Davis put in the go-ahead goal for the Bears, and it seemed as if they would go on to take home a win.

But not so fast.

With only a minute remaining, East Fairmont took the ball into Bear territory.

Breana Wright sized up her shot and she took it, taking a shot herself as she went down on the play.

After remaining down for a few moments, she would rise to see the ball go past the goalie and into the net with just 43.7 seconds remaining.

“I just got back from spraining my MCL, so after I was kind of worried a little bit and I heard everyone cheering. Then I was like, ‘Wait, I can get up,’” Wright said of the game-tying shot. “I was fine; it was just the initial shock. I was glad I could just help my team.”

The Bees would hold the Golden Bears and go on to take a 3-3 tie.

“We can finish, and there is potential on this team,” Wright said. “We have the heart, and we can win some games.”

Her coach shared her sentiments as well, saying, “It should do a lot for their confidence. They know they didn’t win, but they did battle back and tie it at the end.

“The other teams better get it out of their system now, because in a few years, we’ll be the ones dishing out the lickings.”

They boys’ first half saw much of the same as the girls’ with the score being tied 1-1 going into the break.

Jason Mills put East Fairmont on the board first with a goal from about 30 yards out.

“I think once your team scores first, it kind of breaks the ice and gives you a morale boost,” Mills said. “I think it pumped us up.”

At the half, Mills said coach Fred Roman told them something that he’s been having the team live by for the past few games.

“Our coach has a new saying. It’s, ‘Do better,’” Mills said. “That’s kind of our motto now.”

And the Bees certainly did just that.

Just 3:44 into the second half, Levi Perkins, who nearly had a goal at the end of the first half, was able to put the Bees ahead 2-1 with a swift kick.

“He got a great ball from (James) Bolander, and that’s what this team does. They feed each other,” Roman said of Perkins’ goal. “Good things happen. He’s missed the past few games, so our goal was just to get him in.”

The Bees started to pile it on about midway through the half with Colin Harvath netting one off a deflection and also with a penalty kick to bring the final score to 4-1.

Roman was able to put some of his younger guys in to close out the game.

“We saw what they were doing,” Roman said. “It didn’t take us long to find our stride and then get defensive. It gave us a great opportunity to get the young guys in there.

“When a coach feels confident with the guys he has out there and the lead they have, it all works out well.”

The two teams will play again next Thursday night on the road against Phillip Barbour with the girls playing at 5:30 p.m. and the boys playing after them at 7:30 p.m.

Email Matt Welch at mwelch@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.

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