RIPLEY – The season opener for the Buckhannon-Upshur Buccaneers couldn’t have gone any better for head coach Mike Donato Friday night at Ripley.
The Bucs blanked the Vikings by a 5-0 score as Ryan Hurst had a hat trick in the opener.
“I couldn't think of a better way to start off our season,” remarked Donato.
Ripley applied some early pressure to the Bucs, but B-U held off the attack.
Damien Claypool got things started for the Bucs 20 minutes in when he struck a loose ball in the box and finished with a goal to the back post.
Hurst scored his first goal in the 38th minute after he played a pass from Lamar Fadare that went over top of the back line with a finish to the near post.
The Bucs took that 2-0 lead into the half.
Connor Hollen connected on a hard shot about 20 yards out on the left side of the penalty box for the Bucs’ third goal in the 65th minute.
Hurst put the game away with two goals in a three-minute span.
Nathan Allen played a through ball to the left corner and Hurst put a soft touch on the ball and into the Ripley net in the 75th minute.
Allen and Hurst teamed up again for the next goal three minutes later when Allen played a ball over top of the back line and Hurst finished it with a shot to the near post.
“Our back line and keeper, Logan Kelley, withstood a lot of pressure early on from Ripley,” noted Donato. Kelley made two key saves for us and from there we were able to gain control of possession and create a lot of chances. As proud as I am of our scoring chances and the shutout, I am even prouder of how the guys played together.”
The Bucs held a 9-6 lead in shots-on-goal and a 5-3 advantage in corner kicks.
The Bucs were called for 13 fouls while Ripley was called for seven.
Kelley made six saves for the Bucs while Ripley’s Carter Casto made four.
The Buccaneers will return to action in a key sectional contest Tuesday at home with the Morgantown Mohigans at 5:30 p.m.
Buckhannon-Upshur 2 3 – 5
Ripley 0 0 – 0
Buckhannon-Upshur – Damien Claypool (unassisted), 20th minute
Buckhannon-Upshur – Ryan Hurst (Lamar Fadare assist), 38th minute
Buckhannon-Upshur – Connor Hollen (unassisted), 65th minute
Buckhannon-Upshur – Hurst (Nathan Allen assist), 75th minute
Buckhannon-Upshur – Hurst (Allen assist), 78th minute
Shots-on-goal – Buckhannon-Upshur 9; Ripley 6.
Corner kicks – Buckhannon-Upshur 5; Ripley 3.
Fouls – Buckhannon-Upshur 13; Ripley 7.
Saves – Buckhannon-Upshur: Logan Kelley 6; Ripley: Carter Casto 4.