East Fairmont boys soccer gets win in first game amid slew of cancellations

Aug. 22—The East Fairmont Bees boys soccer team technically has a new face at the helm this season, though to call first-year head coach Eric Wright a new face would be a misnomer. Wright has coached the girl's soccer team for years, and in his first game pulling double-duty as the boy's coach, the Bees downed the Frankfort Falcons in decisive fashion, 4-to-1.

The first ten minutes saw both teams undergo a feeling-out process that kept the ball around midfield of East-West Stadium for much of the early goings.

East Fairmont struck first on a scrum close to the Falcons goal that left multiple footballers, including the Frankfort goalie, splayed out on the turf. By the time the dust cleared, freshman CJ Brandli spiked in a point for the Bees from short range at the 20:49 mark of the first half.

Frankfort would settle the score at the 17:49 mark, as excitement turned to frustration for the Bees. A blocked penalty kicked from Levi Sgaggero turned sour as Sgaggero slapped the ball back for a second try, finding the net to tie the game.

Frankfort's persistent strategy of clearing the ball whenever East Fairmont started to threaten frustrated the Bees offense, as East Fairmont did not attempt a shot for the final seven-plus minutes of the first half.

The Bees' second half was fruitful from a goal standpoint, but it could've been even more so. East Fairmont couldn't capitalize on a couple of uncontested shots including a lofting chip shot at the 32:30 mark when the Frankfort goalie found himself out of position too far away from the goal. The shot was wide left.

Coach Wright chalked up the missed opportunities to players still settling into their roles.

"A lot of it is just the personnel, who we've got on at the time," Wright said. "I'll be honest, just this week we've made two or three pretty drastic changes within our lineup, moving people around."

Luckily, East Fairmont still cashed in on enough of their opportunities to cruise to a victory.

Junior Levi Carpenter caught fire for the Bees in the second half, scoring two goals, one off a quick left-to-right crossover dribble to square himself up to the goal and convert an outside shot, and another using his speed to simply out-run a defender and win the one-on-one against the goalie.

The breakout game saw Carpenter score the first goals of his career, in addition to his one assist on the day.

In between Carpenter's conversions, Ashton Cole capitalized on a straight away shot in a similar situation that the Bees failed to convert on earlier in the game, as the Falcons goalie found himself once again too far removed from his goal.

This was East Fairmont's first contest of the 2021 season, though they were supposed to hit the road to play Weir on Friday. Wright stated that Weir had backed up field maintenance which caused them to not have their fields ready in time. The game has already been rescheduled for next Friday.

The girls team was also supposed to play Frankfort Saturday, but Wright said the game did not take place because the Falcons team is low on numbers and did not have enough players eligible because they did not have 14 practices, the minimum number required before a player can participate. That game has been rescheduled for three weeks from now.

For the game that was played, though, Wright saw the win as a good sign as the Bees search for consistency.

"I thought our effort was good, we've just got to clean it up," Wright said. "We got to be more consistent. I've seen them make every play we need to make, we just got to do it every time on the field."

"I'm new to this team, a lot of the players didn't get a lot of playing time last year. It's just a combination of all of us being new together, a new system for them, we're running a different formation , we're running a different style than they're use to the last couple years. If we're making some of these same mistakes three weeks from now I'll be a little upset. Right now we're still learning."

East Fairmont will remain at home for their next game Tuesday, August 24 against Wheeling Central Catholic.

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