By Mike DeFabo
Times West Virginian
The East Fairmont girls’ soccer team has fought through its share of adversity this season.
Injuries have been the major culprit, taking a young team and making it even younger.
Playing with just 11 players in Tuesday night’s playoff game against Braxton County, the numbers finally caught up to the Bees, as the Eagles shut out East Fairmont 1-0 at East-West Stadium.
The Eagles advance to the next round to play Fairmont Senior at 8 p.m. Thursday at East-West Stadium.
“I’ve got nothing negative to say about these girls,” East Fairmont coach Mark Harvath said. “I had 11 kids healthy with no substitutes. I’m asking them to play 80 minutes right off the bat. I’m not sure that that’s fair of me to ask that and expect that off them. But they made it.”
Braxton County’s lone goal came in the 44th minute. The Eagles sprinted along the left side of the field on a breakaway and knocked a bouncing shot that deflected over goalkeeper Hannah Pride’s outstretched hands.
East Fairmont’s best chance to tie the game up came just a few minutes later. Toree Ridgeway had a good look at the net, but booted the ball just off the side of the net.
“Obviously we’re disappointed,” sophomore Carmalyn Fitz said. “But we played our hearts out. All of us tried as hard as we could do, and that’s really all we can do in games like this.”
Harvath said that he was proud of the way his team fought. He said that even though the season didn’t turn out the way the Bees had hoped, the team still had a lot of good memories to look back on.
He also pointed to the senior class of Savanah Christy, Mary Sarsfield and Breana Wright. Earlier in the season, he likened the three to “daughters.”
“I may not have been back this year had it not been for them. It’s going to be different for the team and different for me.”
He added that while the injuries forced many of the young players into the starting lineup early, the experience will be beneficial down the road.
“They’ll be back. This was a good learning experience for them. We’re bringing back most of these kids. It was good experience for them. It’s going to pay big dividends for them down the road.”
Email Mike DeFabo at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.