East Fairmont ends Oak Glen’s season
WEIRTON – There was no need to blame it on the rain. There was no reason to sweat the technique.
All the Oak Glen boys soccer team could do was accept a 5-0 loss in the Class AA-A Region 1 final, acknowledge a history-making season and salute a polished East Fairmont club.
“I’ve got a good group of boys,” said Golden Bears coach Aaron Bennett. “I really think they gave everything they had.”
As a steady rain fell right from the opening kickoff, the field remained slick for the remainder.
“Unfortunately, the weather changed our gameplan where we couldn’t move the ball how we wanted to,” Bennett said. “Instead of going with it on the slick ground, we decided to go with it over the top. That’s what’s been working for us all year. The boys had a hard time getting out of that gameplan.
“But they had the same weather we had. I won’t blame the weather.”
East Fairmont (18-1-1) scored at the 31:10 mark of the first half as freshman Andrew Slusser ripped one past a diving Nate Bennett from 15 yards away.
“That was a laser,” said Bees coach Fred Roman.
East Fairmont’s four other goals were well-played squeakers which drew Bennett out of the net.
“That’s the game we’ve played all season,” Roman said. “We’re lucky to be versatile with a talented front line. They’re quick and make great passes.
“You don’t know who to guard. you can’t just mark on one of our guys.”
Sophomore Colin Harvath scored at the 25:38 mark of the first and the Bees took a 2-0 lead into the locker room.
“You try to teach them that after one or two it’s still controllable,” Bennett said. “They just passed through us very well. There’s no excuses. They were able to move the ball very well.”
Connor Fritz scored twice at the 26:53 mark of the second half and Logan Berulo closed the scoring with 11:24 remaining. East Fairmont attempted 14 shots and earned four corner kicks.
Oak Glen, which finishes the year with a record of 13-8, was unable to take a shot in the first half, but had four legitimate scoring chances in the second.
With 30 minutes remaining, Cullen Bennett, Zach Mynes, Justin Bailey, Devin Polen and Nate Fryer each made a play on the ball while it rolled in the endzone. Polen had the best chance to put a goal in, but a Bees defender headed out his shot attempt.
“The chances were slim and just tough,” Bennett said.
On Sept. 28, East Fairmont beat Oak Glen, 4-1. Last week, the Bees beat rival Fairmont Senior for the first time since 2007. Now, they’re advancing to the state tournament for the first time in school history.
East Fairmont will face Parkersburg Catholic at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 8 in Beckley.
“We started off with a motto,” Roman said. “‘Do better.’ And that’s what we’ve been doing and that’s what we need to continue to do.”
The Bears usher off seven seniors. Four juniors return, along with three sophomores and five freshman.
“Some of the young kids have come a long way with the seniors and I think we’ll make a good run next year,” Bennett said.