Weir Takes Advantage of Grafton’s Mistakes, 2-0 in Boys Soccer at Jimmy Carey Stadium
Jackson, Morgan Find Back of Net for Red Riders
WEIRTON — The Weir and Grafton boys’ soccer teams battled it out for 80 hard-fought minutes, but in the end, the Bearcats blinked and the Red Riders were able to take advantage.
Weir netted a goal in each half, en route to a 2-0 victory Saturday afternoon at Jimmy Carey Stadium in the season opener for both teams.
“We had some chances to score that we need to put into the net,” Weir coach Matt Kopp said. “They had some chances that we need to not let happen.
“This was a big improvement for us and our mentality after last season. We did not have a good year last year. The kids were able to fight back (Saturday) after not feeling like they could win last year. We were able to score two goals, and we were able to keep them off of the scoreboard. We did not give up.”
Grafton had plenty of chances, but the Bearcats could not convert when they had the opportunity.
“We had a ton of chances,” Grafton coach Arthur Knight said. “We had scrimmages, but they were on grass. We are a turf team. I thought it would help with us being back in our natural setting. “We changed our formation Wednesday at practice. We only had a few days to practice it.
“We moved the ball well. We were able to possess the ball. We had good opportunities, but we just couldn’t score. They were able to score on two mistakes. It is early in the season. When you make mistakes, good teams are going to make you pay.”
Skylar Jackson and Jacob Morgan netted the goals for Weir, while Joe Iafrate tallied an assist.
The Red Riders used two goalies. Jonathon Howard started in the net, and he made seven saves. John Wansack played the final 1:48 in the goal.
“We saw them at Brooke,” Knight said. “We saw them at the Brooke Soccerama. We new they had speed at both ends of the field.”
Alec Correia made five saves for Grafton.
“We have one of the best keepers,” Knight said. “He’s kicking himself for letting those two goals in. They came on mistakes.”
The Red Riders made some mistakes of their own, but the Bearcats failed to capitalize.
“They are quick up front,” Kopp said. “They like to play diagonal balls to No. 13 (Stetson Sanders) and No. 19 (Conor Goldizen). They are dangerous. They are good in the air. I was nervous every time they took a corner kick or a free kick.
“We didn’t dominate the game. It was back and forth. Both teams had their chances.”
Jackson appeared to score to give the Red Riders an early lead less than two minutes into the game, but the ball was wiped away due to an offisde call.
Jackson redeemed himself later in the half when he scored off of an assist from Iafrate to give Weir a 1-0 lead.
Morgan scored with 36:14 left to play to give the Red Riders a 2-0 advantage.
“I’m really happy with our performance,” Kopp said. “It was not perfect. We still have got some little things and individual things to work on. The team played together. They competed.”
The game served as a building block for the Bearcats.
“We will take it, and we will build on it,” Knight said. “We are not going to settle. They are a good team. Hopefully, Weir has a good season.”
Both teams are scheduled to play Tuesday. Grafton is slated to play at 8 p.m. at Fairmont Senior at East-West Stadium. Meanwhile, Weir is scheduled to play Philip Barbour at 7:30 p.m. at home in the second game of a girls and boys doubleheader. The Weir girls are scheduled to play Wheeling Central at 6 p.m.
“I am proud of the boys,” Kopp said. “They competed. They played together. There is a lot of season left to go. Hopefully, we can keep this going.”