RIPLEY — The Buckhannon-Upshur boys soccer team opened the season on Saturday, dropping a 5-2 decision to Ripley.
“This definitely wasn’t the result we were looking for to open our regular season,” said Buccaneer coach Mike Donato. “But we were able to take some positives from the game. We had to rely on a lot of younger players to fill in some big spots and they did well in that regard.”
Five different players scored for the Vikings, who led 2-0 at the intermission.
Ryan Shatto started the scoring in the 22nd minute when he made a steal and scored from 18 yards out.
Ripley struck again nine minutes later when Samuel Pierson’s shot deflected off the Buccaneer keeper and into the net.
Early into the second half, Kai Greely-Fay converted on a corner kick from Pierson to make it 3-0.
Freshman Ian Gainey then took a drop pass from Broedy Boyce in the 64th minute, extending the margin to 4-0.
B-U’s first goal of the season came in the 73rd minute when freshman Lane Tenney took advantage of a ball misplayed by a Ripley defender and he found the back post.
The Vikings added another goal just one minute later when Wesley Hopper earned the assist on Brandon Cochran’s score.
The Bucs concluded the scoring in the 78th minute when Tenney placed a through ball to Tyler Hollen, who dribbled in and finished to the near post.
Ripley held a 13-5 advantage on shots on goal and 7-2 edge on corner kicks.
Logan Kelley had eight stops for the Bucs, while Chris Neil stopped three stops for the Vikings.
A total of 28 fouls were whistled in the match, 15 for the hosts and 13 on B-U.
“Where our breakdowns occurred were the spacing between our backline and central midfield,” Donato said. “Through experience and repetition, that’s an issue that can be corrected.
“Possession wise, I thought we did well. Our intent with the ball was correct, but we were too hesitant or soft with the ball.”
The Bucs will return to the pitch on Tuesday, hosting sectional foe Morgantown for a 7:30 p.m. contest in the home opener.