Lady Bearcat Soccer wraps up busy week with special dedication

GRAFTON—The Lady Bearcats Soccer team has been battling it out on the turf this season, and a busy schedule last week finished out with a wonderful tribute to a local woman.

The Lady Bearcat action got underway last Tuesday with an intense contest with the Lady Polar Bears of Fairmont Senior High School.

The Polar Bears dominated play during the first half of the match, entering halftime with a 3-0 lead.

Grafton rallied and scored three goals of their own during the second half of play. Two of those goals were off the foot of Hadley Horne, and one was credited to Riley Countryman, off of a nice assist by MacKenzie Hunter.

Unfortunately, Fairmont Senior would find their second win within the remaining five minutes of play and went on to score two more goals, bringing the score to 5-3 in favor of the Lady Polar Bears.

Addie Tucker’s quick footwork and smart play earned her eight steals for the night.

Coming off the late game loss, the Lady Bearcats rallied and hit the field looking for redemption against the North Marion Lady Huskies.

“We came back and put together a great game at North Marion, beating them 1-0,” revealed Lady Bearcat Head Coach Lorraine Isner.

In what Isner called a “beautifully executed attack,” Riley Countryman scored the only goal off of a left to right cross. She made a hard run to the back post and finished with a one touch shot.

Tucker once again led her team with steals during the game.

“Reagan Knight also had a great game in the goal” Isner disclosed. “She recorded nine saves total, and some of them were really big saves!”

With the momentum of the win over North Marion, the Lady Bearcats then hit the turf of McKinney Field against the Saint Joseph Central Lady Irish.

The match-up saw plenty of back-and-forth play, as each team worked to put points on the board. The hard fought contest saw no scores until the Lady Bearcats made their move late in the first half.

With just six minutes left in the half, Claire McCarthy sent the ball up the middle to a waiting Horne, who launched the ball out of the keeper’s reach, bringing the score to 1-0 in favor of the Lady Bearcats.

Grafton was able to hold Saint Joseph Central scoreless through strong defense, and the 1-0 lead held through halftime.

The second half of play saw much of the same until, with nine minutes left on the clock, Saint Joseph was able to find the back of the net, bringing the score to 1-1.

Determined to defend their turf and secure the win, the Lady Bearcats launched an attack with three minutes left in play. MyKenna Stemple connected with Elizabeth Uhl, who dropped the ball behind the Lady Irish Keeper, bumping Grafton up by one, 2-1.

“We continued to stay focused and determined to get the win,” Isner voiced. “And we were able to hold on for a 2-1 victory!”

Overcoming was the theme of the game for the Lady Bearcats, and it went perfectly with their Pink-Out the Stadium for Breast Cancer Awareness Month theme.

“The Lady Bearcats ‘Fight Together’ in October, wearing pink uniforms to help bring awareness and to support one of our own,” Isner explained. “One of our moms, Courtney McKinney, is currently battling breast cancer, so we dedicated our game to her.”

She expressed that McKinney is an example of inner strength and courage in the face of uncertainty.

“Courtney is our example of conquering fear, overcoming adversity and persevering to win the fight,” voiced Isner.

To show solidarity, encouragement and support for McKinney and her family, following their game, the Lady Bearcats joined with Saint Joseph Central, the Taylor County Middle School Lady Knights and Knights soccer teams and East Fairmont Middle School soccer, along with numerous fans and parents to create a pink ribbon at midfield.

According to Isner, this year’s Breast Cancer Awareness theme is “We Rise Together,” and the display fit perfectly with that idea.

“We, the Lady Bearcats, the Lady Irish, the Lady Knights and the Lady Hornets dedicate our games to Courtney, our amazing example of inner strength, courage in the face of uncertainty; our amazing example of conquering fear, overcoming adversity and persevering to finish strong and win the fight,” Isner voiced. “We love you, Courtney, and admire your strength!”

The Lady Bearcats will continue to sport pink throughout October, as they believe the fight against breast cancer never ends.

“We will also be participating in the Walk for Women  and encourage others to join us,” imparted Isner.


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