GRAFTON— The Bearcat soccer team continues to stand undefeated on their season, with their most recent win being a blowout against the South Harrison Hawks.
The two teams met up on Grafton’s home turf, McKinney Field, on Saturday at noon, and the Bearcats took home field advantage to a new level. Fueled by being in their own territory, with fans packing the stands, as well as their determination to retain their near perfect record, the Grafton squad controlled play throughout the contest, delivering an 11-0 shutout to the Hawks.
Coach Jack Wolverton shared that the Bearcats started strong with good ball control and practiced passes.
The Cats were able to get several shot attempts off, and connected for their first goal of the game at the seven-minute mark, when Landen Hully sent a hard shot toward the goalie. His effort was blocked by the Hawk’s goalkeeper, but teammate Layne England was ready for a follow up, sending the ball into the back of the net.
The Bearcats would send another one into the South Harrison net around the 11-minute mark with a Gage McVicker pass to Cody Abraham, who was able to find the back of the net and put Grafton on top 2-0 early on.
Just four minutes later, McVicker sent another nice pass to Hulley once again giving him a chance for a goal, and this time he connected, making moves to dodge defenders and get into position, Hulley put the ball into the net for the third Grafton goal.
To round out the first half of action, England and Adrian Joyce were a powerful duo, working together to add three to Grafton’s side of the score board before the break.
Near the 27-minute mark, England sent a header to Joyce, and he was able to move it into the goal for the fourth Bearcat score.
Just a minute later, the pair was causing more problems for Hawk defenders, when England’s selfless play found Joyce in position and open to receive a cross pass, that Joyce turned into yet another Grafton goal.
Recording his third goal in under seven minutes, Joyce won possession of a loose ball inside the box at the 33-minute mark and sent another one flying into the South Harrison net, sending Grafton into the halftime break with a comfortable 6-0 lead.
The Bearcats continued to dominate the hopeful Hawks in the second half of action, not giving South Harrison a chance to come back.
With another assist by McVicker, Spencer Copeland added to Grafton’s score just three minutes into the second half of play.
England also earned the Bearcats another goal, with a hard shot that just barely slipped through the hands of the South Harrison goalkeeper.
As South Harrison continued to struggle defending Bearcat passes, Grafton earned their ninth goal from an assist by Landen Miller, who sent a long pass to freshman Ethan Weaver. Weaver put the ball into the net at the 20-minute mark.
The Hawks attempted to amplify their defensive efforts, but it proved to be no match for the Bearcats, as Hulley maintained the ball with great control and was able to shake multiple defenders to send the ball 12 yards for another goal at the 28-minute mark.
The Bearcats’ 11th and final goal of the contest would come from Garin Chambers, who dribbled through the Hawks defense and landed a tough shot in the back of the net sealing the 11-0 blowout.
And while the Bearcat offense delivered an outstanding performance, the defensive efforts of Gavin Wolverton, Levi Miller, Zach Nibert, Landen Miller, Hayden Derk and Alex Himes shouldn’t be overlooked.
The group managed to hold South Harrison to zero shots and allowed very little possession on the Bearcats’ side of the field.
Wolverton also noted that Colton Sanders, McVicker, and Chambers played well and controlled the defensive mid positions assisting in the Bearcat victory.
“Our goalies Bryson Kittle and Justin Gainer were bored, just like us coaches like it,” he joked. “Overall, we are very pleased with our passing and finishing.”
The Bearcats will be back in action on Thursday at home, matching up with a talented Buckhannon-Upshur team. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m.
“Come cheer on your Bearcat,” Wolverton encouraged.
Individual player stats:
Cody Abraham: 4 shots, 1 goal, Spencer Copeland: 5 shots, 1 goal, Gage McVicker: 3 shots,3 assists, 2 steals, Gavin Wolverton: 3 steals, Layne England: 5 shots, 2 goals, 2 assists, Levi Miller: 1 steal, Zach Nibert: 1 shot, 2 steals, Colton Sanders: 7 shots, 3 steals, Landen Hulley: 3 shots, 2 goals, 1 assit, 1 steals, Garin Chambers: 4 shots, 1 goal, 1 steal, Adrian Joyce: 3 shots, 3 goals, Devin Weaver: 1 steals, Markus Carder: 2 shots, Hayden Derk: 1 steal, Avery Duckworth: 1 shot, Ethan Weaver: 1 shot, 1 goal, Landen Miller: 1 assist, 1 steal.