TENNERTON — The Buckhannon-Upshur High School Buccaneers soccer team entered Saturday, August 20’s home opening game against Greenbriar East looking to rebound from a disappointing 1 to 0 season opening loss to Morgantown. The game against Greenbriar East didn’t exactly go as planned for head coach Mike Donato’s team, as they got shutout for the second consecutive game en route to a 5 to 0 loss on Saturday. The Buccaneers kept things close in the first half, only trailing 1 to 0 heading into the locker room for halftime, however a four goal run by Parkersburg to open up the second half ended all hopes of the Buccaneers rallying.
Coach Donato gave his thoughts on what went wrong for his team, saying, “We didn’t come out with our best from the start. We managed to hang in there in the first half but as the game continued we kept making more mistakes. The guys had a lot to overcome with the heat and a great team with a repeat first-team all-stater in seams. We just didn’t have our best but we’ll be sure to assess those mistakes as a team and work to fix those issues.”
Following the home opening loss, the Buccaneers were back in action this past Tuesday, August 23 as they welcomed rival Lewis County to town. Looking to rebound from two shutout losses to start the season, coach Donato and his team were hungrier than ever to compete. Lewis County struck first, scoring the game’s opening goal in the nineteenth minute before senior Josh Gregory dribbled around his defender, finding just enough space to send the equalizing goal into the back of the net to tie the game at 1 to 1 in the thirtieth minute. The score remained deadlocked through the rest of the first half and into the second half as the game devolved into a defensive struggle. In the end, the rivalry game culminated in a 1 to 1 tie, even though the Bucs led in time of possession and in terms of shots on goal, where they outshot their opponents 9 to 5. Senior goalkeeper Dalton Auvil followed up a solid five save performance against Parkersburg with a masterful four save performance against Lewis County, only allowing a single goal all game long.
Coach Donato spoke about how the game against Lewis differed from their first two games, saying, “We got off to another slow start, but we started to gain control and maintain possession as the game went on. Even though we couldn’t capitalize on the opportunities we got in the second half; I thought our run of play was better. We made better decisions with the ball and looked to possess and not just rely on through balls and dribbling. We still have some work to do to find an identity going forward but I am pleased with the steps we took tonight.”
With the tie, coach Donato’s Bucs move to 0-2-1 so far this season, as they still search for their first win of the season. Despite mixed results through roughly the first week of the season, the Buccaneers have plenty to build upon as the season unfolds.