Bearcats advance past Liberty during round one of sectional play

GRAFTON— On Thursday evening the #2 seeded Grafton Bearcats took to the field against the #3 seeded Liberty Mountaineers for the first round of state sectional competition. 

All season, the Bearcats have been working toward sectional play, in hopes of making it further than ever before. Despite being handed a few hard blows, the team finished regular season play with a mostly winning record and was able to rebound and recompose after losses to keep their focus on the goal ahead; dominating next level competition. 

And that is just what they did when faced with their first-round opponent. 

From the first whistle Grafton hustled, gaining and maintaining possession, with several chances at the goal to get things started. However, the Bearcats were unable to capitalize on those opportunities, with shots bouncing off the posts. 

After a few missed chances to get on the board, the Bearcats were able to maintain their composure and change their luck at the 17-minute mark, when Cody Abraham found Gage McVicker open.

McVicker would push forward, maneuvering past Mountaineer defenders and toward the GHS goal, advancing the ball to teammate Layne England with a well-executed pass. 

From there, England dribbled across the top of the 18-yard box sending another nice pass to Spencer Copeland. With a good first touch, Copeland sent a shot into the corner of the net from 18-yards out, putting the Bearcats on the board and ahead 1-0. 

During a brutal second half, the Bearcats once again faced scoring woes, unable to find the back of the net. However, their precise movement of the ball, and fast feet kept the Mountaineers of the defense and out of possession for the remainder of play. 

“Our mid field once again controlled the game with a lot of possession. Our Defense held Liberty’s high scoring offense to one shot the whole game,” shared Assistant Coach Jack Wolverton. 

At the final buzzer, the Bearcats’ 1-0 lead became their 1-0 victory. With the win, Grafton will advance to round two, where they will take on #4 seeded Robert C. Byrd today, Saturday, October 23, at 1:00 p.m., at McKinney Field for the Sectional Championship. 

“We have a team that can compete with any team in the state. We control our own destiny,” Wolverton voiced. “We need everyone to come make some noise and cheer on your Bearcats!”

Individual player stats: Landen Hulley: 2 shots, 8 steals, Spencer Copeland: 1 goal, 1 shot, Layne England: 1 assist, 3 shots, Gage McVicker: 5 steals, Colton Sanders: 1 shot, 5 steals, Zach Nibert: 3 steals, Levi Miller: 2 steals, Gavin Wolverton: 5 steals, Devin Weaver: 4 steals, Bryson Kittle: 1 save, Jude Minard: 1 shot

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