Soccer Lady Bucs hang with Bridgeport for a half but fall in sectional title game

Laikelyn Leggett (28) of the Buckhannon-Upshur Lady Bucs plays a header on a corner kick by Cameron Zuliani (22) during the second half of their sectional championship game Wednesday evening at Bridgeport’s Wayne Jamison Field. Looking on for the Lady Bucs is Kennedy Samargo (7).

BRIDGEPORT – For 60 minutes, the Section 2, Region I championship game was up for grabs between the Buckhannon-Upshur Lady Bucs and the Bridgeport Lady Indians Wednesday evening from Wayne Jamison Field.

Bridgeport held a 2-0 lead at that point, but it was still anybody’s game to win.

Then a trio of goals by Bridgeport in a three-minute span of the final eight minutes of game ended any hopes for the Lady Bucs to hoist the sectional trophy and move on to the regional finals today as they dropped a 5-0 contest.

“The final score is not indicative of how we played and I felt it was a closer game than that,” remarked Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Jackie Zuliani. “We had a decent first half with some good looks and opportunities but we knew Bridgeport had some talented players and moved the ball very well. We just got a little tired in the second half because the girls were playing hard.  Bridgeport had great speed and were able to utilize that to make it hard for us to get back into it.”

In an evenly played first half, Bridgeport built a 1-0 lead at the intermission on an unassisted goal by Gabrielle Reep who scored with a rebound deflection shot from 15 yards out.

Bridgeport owned just a 4-3 lead in shots-on-goal at the half.

“Our defense did a nice job in the first half and our keeper Kyndal Davis had some great saves,” remarked Zuliani. “They were able to capitalize on that one goal in the first half, but Kyndal made a great save and unfortunately they were able to score off the deflection.”

Emerson Grafton gave Bridgeport a 2-0 lead in the 48th minute when she took a shot from the top of the box and over the head of  Davis.

The assist went to Kylie Bender.

The game stayed at 2-0 until the Bridgeport flourish that started in the 72nd minute.

Braelynne Sandreth scored on a breakaway down the middle of the field with the assist going to Allison Bender, then Reep scored consecutive goals for a hat trick in the 74th and 75 minutes with the assists going to Sandreth and Kylie Bender.

Bridgeport outshot the Lady Bucs by an 7-1 margin in the second half.

For the game, Bridgeport held an 11-4 advantage in shots-on-goal while the Lady Bucs owned a 5-2 lead in corner kicks.

Davis turned away six shots for the Lady Bucs while Mackenzie Randolph made four saves for Bridgeport.

“They were the better team that night, but our girls still had a great season,” said Zuliani. “I was very happy with the effort. I am very proud of how they played this year and how they dealt with COVID-19 and all it has brought with it. I am sad for our seniors. Their whole senior year so far has been uncertain due to everything and hasn’t been fair.  I thank Gracie Boyles, Iris Tenney, Kennedy Samargo, Laikelyn  Leggett, Maggie Nolte and Maggie Queen for being a big part of this team for the past four years. The will be greatly missed next year!

“I want to also thank Bridgeport and coach Sam McKinney again for supporting us in our efforts to be allowed to play post season.  They were behind us the whole way and we appreciated it.”

Bridgeport improved to 13-0 on the season and will face Wheeling Park for the regional crown today at Brooke High School.

Buckhannon-Upshur closed out their year with a 9-4-1 record.

The boxscore:

Buckhannon-Upshur                                                              0  0 – 0

Bridgeport                                                                                  1  4 – 5


Bridgeport – Gabrielle Reep (unassisted), 14th minute

Bridgeport – Emerson Grafton (Kylie Bender assist), 48th minute

Bridgeport – Braelynne Sandreth (Allison Bender), 72nd minute

Bridgeport – Reep (Sandreth assist), 74th minute

Bridgeport – Reep (K. Bender assist), 75th minute

Shots-on-goal – Buckhannon-Upshur 4; Bridgeport 11

Corner kicks – Buckhannon-Upshur 5; Bridgeport 2

Saves – Buckhannon-Upshur: Kyndal Davis 6; Bridgeport: Mackenzie Randolph 4


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