Bees start postseason with decisive win over Frankfort

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Oct. 21—FAIRMONT — For stretches of Wednesday's game against the Frankfort Falcons, the East Fairmont Bees' offense was dampened.

After an early Kierstyn Maxey goal, the Bees' subsequent attempts to tack on more points were stymied by the Falcons' defense, and by a myriad of offside penalties.

But once things clicked in to place, the floodgates opened.

Spurred on by a two-minute stretch in the first half where they scored three goals, the Bees (16-4-1) cruised to a 5-0 victory over Frankfort (7-9) to advance in the state playoffs.

Maxey's early goal put East ahead in short order, but the Bees still applied pressure, with Makayla Comas and Maddie Lott letting loose shots on goal, the score remained 1-0 for the first half hour of Wednesday's game.

Some solid saves from Frankfort's Marie Perdew kept the score down during that time, as did a steady dose of offside calls against East. The Bees held to the time-tested truth that the ball moves faster than the player, using the pass to break Frankfort's defense, but the frequent offside calls spoiled several impressively precise feeds up the field.

Frankfort's own defense was set up as a calculated risk. Move up their line to elicit more offsides calls, but leave themselves vulnerable to penetration off the dribble.

"The passing was great, it took us a little while to figure it out," East Fairmont head coach Eric Wright said. "But then when we got there we kind of took advantage of it. They were trying to play a high line, they played a very high line, their keeper was out to the 30 yard line sometimes. They were just trying to do, tactically, what they thought they needed to do to keep it closer, and they did. So hats off to them for playing their game plan but we had to stick with ours and find a way."

East Fairmont's breakthrough began with a penalty kick. Maddie Lott's first try on her PK was too high, but after the officials ruled that the goalkeeper had moved too far forward, Lott got a re-do, and she made the second one count.

In the 33rd minute of the contest, East led 2-0.

From there, the Bees were off and running. In the 35th minute, Maxey handled a pass on the right wing with a lot of space in front of her. Approaching the goalie, Maxey chopped her feet, feigning a shot before finally letting one rip for real. Her second goal of the night put her team up 3-0.

It was still the 35th minute when Lott decided to chalk up her own second goal of the night too. Breaking through that high line, Lott still had a defender on her hip as she strafed across the goal. Perdew started to come out to help out her defender, but just as she was nearly on top of the junior, Lott tapped a shot in stride that slipped right past the defender and Perdew — 4-0 East.

East Fairmont stayed in firm control the rest of the half, but with Frankfort committing 10 to defense, any additional offense got bogged down as the halftime horn brought play to a stop.

Most of the second resembled the closing minutes of the first. Frankfort loaded up on defense, and East stayed on offense virtually the entire half. The ball never crossed over to East Fairmont's side as the Bees dominated the ball.

The only goal of the second half came in the 65th minute, as Kierstyn Maxey secured the hat trick. Weaving her way towards the goal, the sophomore displayed her ball skills, pulling off an inside hook that nearly sent the defender in front of her to the pitch. Her ensuing shot was deflected, but still found the net.

"I was feeling pretty good, pretty confident today," Maxey said.

"Kierstyn is one of the top players in the state," Wright said. "First team all-state last year as a freshman, and just continued to build on that all season, so it doesn't surprise me any time she has a hat trick or multiple goals."

After the decisive victory, East is moving on to Saturday's Sectional Championship, where they will play the winner of Thursday's Fairmont Senior-North Marion matchup. With a long postseason road still to come, the win Wednesday served as a good start for Wright's Bees.

"It gives us a lot of confidence," Maxey said. "It boosts our confidence. We got some good passing in to practice for the next game ahead of us. It's going to be a tough game but this was a good confidence boost."

"This time of year, any win's a good win," Wright said. "You win or you go home. So, we're feeling real good about it then, because we get to play again."

Reach Nick Henthorn at 304-367-2548 or by email at nhenthorn@timeswv.com.

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