BUCKHANNON — The Buckhannon-Upshur High School Boys Varsity Soccer Team delivered some exciting games this week. The team made it to the semifinals competing against Bridgeport High School (BHS) on Tuesday, October 18 and then battling University High School on Thursday, October 20.
B-U traveled to Bridgeport on Tuesday, October 18 and performed proficiently while maintaining their defensive strategy. Each team was represented well with cheering fans in the bleachers. However, after the officials made several calls against Bridgeport for fouls, the Bridgeport fans became verbally aggressive. B-U fans clapped back at Bridgeport but redirected their energy towards supporting B-U.
The intense game continued and an official on the field issued Bridgeport’s Head Coach Keith Dumas a yellow card. This again prompted comments from BHS as B-U fans cheered for the decision. The level of animosity grew and eventually Buckhannon’s Head Coach Mike Donato approached the bleachers to address fans and noted that profanity could be heard clear across the field and that it needed to stop. Donato said, “That is not how we operate in Buckhannon and if you cannot tone it down, then go home.” When speaking with Donato, he did say he approached the bleachers to address fans by request of officials.
After Donato’s comments to fans in the stands, the negative comments died down and the crowds became more focused on cheering for their prospective teams. As the game continued, it started to sleet which also quite literally cooled down the hot-blooded fans.
The team was tied at the end of regulation time leading B-U and BHS to enter overtime with a first session of a 10-minute overtime still ending with a tie of 0-0. Again B-U and BHS battled it out for another 10 minutes of overtime. And once again, B-U was tied with Bridgeport at 0-0. The game then went on into penalty kicks with B-U advancing in the semi-finals with a score of 3-2 against Bridgeport.
B-U also had 2 shots on goal while BHS had 9, B-U had 4 corner kicks while BHS had 10, B-U had 3 fouls while BHS had 4. Saves for B-U topped out at 9 by goalie Dalton Auvil while saves for BHS totaled 2 by their goalie Levi Crayton. B-U was not issued any cards but as noted above BHS Head Coach Keith Dumas was issued a yellow card.
Head Coach Mike Donato said, “As it seems most of the year, we had some obstacles to overcome between shorthanded players and the weather, but the team showed a toughness that we’ve seen some this season. We possessed and moved well in the first half, but you could tell based on the flow of the game the extended minutes started to take its toll. But again, I give players credit for braving the elements and getting the game to penalties. The way Dalton was playing we knew that if we got it to PKs we would be fine and he didn’t disappoint making 2 huge saves.”
With their advancement in the semifinals, B-U then traveled to UHS. B-U continued to shine in this game as well. However, B-U took a loss against UHS who led the game in a score of 2-0. Following the game, UHS and B-U fans conversed. One UHS parent said, “You have some real talent on your team, it was a good game. We kept telling our players to watch out for your advanced players.”
Congratulations to all teams and let us remember that offering genuine support and positive comments to the team your cheering for and the opposing team shows your character and helps to build our athletes’ character.