Kittle tallies six saves to keep contest tied up


WHEELING— Over the weekend, the #15 Bearcats boys soccer team traveled to JB Chambers Sports Park in Wheeling to take on the #10 Central Catholic Maroon Knights, and in a display of heart and hustle, came home with a tie game. 

From the start, the contest saw fairly even play from both groups and was a showcase of teamwork, with impressive passing. 

It would be the Bearcat offensive duo of Gage McVicker and Layne England putting in the work for Grafton and earning their pair of goals.

Ready to break away and pull ahead, the Bearcats executed a strong scoring offensive play at the 17-minute mark with a McVicker pass to England. 

England received the ball with confidence and determination and sent it into the back of the goal, for the 1-0 Grafton lead. 

However, Wheeling Central struck back at the 30-minute mark from the edge of the 18-yard box. Adding a deflection into the mix on the play, Bearcat goalie Bryson Kittle was unable to make the stop, and the Knights tied things up at 1-1. 

Not wanting Wheeling to gain momentum off the play, Grafton was quick to answer back, with another McVicker assist and a goal by England, once again putting the Bearcats on top 2-1. 

During the second half of action, the Bearcats had several opportunities to score but just couldn’t connect, and the Knights took advantage. 

At the 23-minute mark, a Wheeling player broke free from the Grafton defenders, making a nice run that he was able to finish off with a kick into the corner of the goal, tying the game up once again. 

With physical play from both teams, the back-and-forth action continued to the final buzzer, with neither the Bearcats nor Knights being able to put the game away and earn the victory.

Thanks to the quick hands of goalkeeper Kittle for racking up half a dozen saves, the Bearcats stayed in the game with and 2-2 score carried over to the conclusion of the contest. 

The Bearcats ended the night with 17 shot attempts and 27 steals. 

“Overall, we played very well from defense clear through our forward,” noted Assistant Coach Jack Wolverton. “We had several chances to put the game away, we just couldn’t make the connection. As I have said in the past, this Bearcat team has the potential to make some noise this season. It is up to them.” 

Individual player stats: 

Landen Hulley: 3 shots, 7 steals, Spencer Copeland: 5 shots, Layne England: 2 goals, 5 shots, Gage McVicker: 2 assists, 1 shot, 5 steals, Colton Sanders: 3 steals, Levi Miller: 2 steals, Gavin Wolverton: 4 steals, Devin Weaver: 2 steals, Hayden Derk: 3 steals, 1 shot, Bryson Kittle: 6 saves, Adrian Joyce: 1 shot, Landen Miller: 1 steal, Jude Minard: 1 shot.

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