By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
EAST RIVER —
Bluefield College hosted an afternoon of collegiate soccer with changing fall foliage as the backdrop, welcoming the men and women’s teams from St. Catharine College to the East River Soccer Complex.
Both contests finished with a 1-nil score, the women’s game in favor of the visitors and the men’s game going to the home team.
Erik Albarran’s goal in the 22nd minute on an assist from Michael Callaghan gave the homestanding Rams all the scoring they needed to defeat the Patriots of St. Catharine.
“That was a good piece of skill from both Michael Callaghan and Eric,” said BC coach Peter Dryer. “They received the ball quickly on a turnover, and we’ve talked about transition, transition is where the game happens.
“He (Albarran) had a perfect first touch, played a perfect ball through and then put it away. Michael (Callaghan) put the perfect ball in, a good touch and a great finish.”
The name of the game for Bluefield was defense and goal keeper Jefferson Watson was key for the Rams.
“He (Watson) prevents shots from happening, which really helps our team,” Dryer said. He gets off his line quick, he cuts balls off that are coming through.
“A lot of times teams don’t get shots off that they normally would because he is so quick to stop them. He had a few nice saves back there. He’s a good keeper. He’s got reactions and had good command of his box today.”
With the victory the Rams moved to 7-7 overall and 3-3 in the Mid South Conference.
“That’s our third conference victory,” Dryer noted. “I don’t think Bluefield College soccer has won three games in conference for I don’t know how long.
“We haven’t put a couple of games together like this in a while, so it’s good to get a big win the other day where we came back, came back, came back, and then today to outlast and not five up a goal. I think the character of the team is starting to show itself. It’s a good thing.”
In the women’s contest one goal also decided the match, but it was the Patriots of St. Catharine who claimed the victory.
Sarah Castillo found the net in the 45th minute, just 37 seconds before the half and that proved to be the game-winner for the Patriots.
Bluefield was aggressive and were close to scoring on several first half corner kicks, but the ball bounced not in the Rams favor.
BC women’s coach Chase Neidig said, “The first half we really got after it, though the first 10 minutes or so we were kind of lackadaisical. We held possession. We probably out-shot them double, or triple in the first half, but they just got a good bounce on one shot in the whole first half and put it away.”
The Rams were playing without their two leading scorers, one out due to receiving a red card in BC’s last game, the other attending an out-of-town wedding. Couple that with hard luck and it spelled doom for the Rams.
“We’ve struggled a little bit lately with finishing the ball, that was a little bit evident today, but the girls battled,” Neidig said. “We had a chance in the second half. Neither team really had a whole lot of opportunities to score, but kudos to St. Catharine for defending well.”
The Bluefield women are now 6-7 overall and 2-4 in Mid South Conference play and Neidig remains optimistic about the program’s development.
“We’ve broken every single program record in history so far, to date, already,” Neidig said. “Obviously from a year ago it’s quite a turnaround. I am very thankful for what they have been able to do on the field.”