By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
EAST RIVER —
Blue skies, cool temperatures and a den of Beavers welcomed the Lincoln County Panthers to the East River Soccer Complex Saturday afternoon for a contest with Bluefield High School. After 80 minutes of action Bluefield emerged with a 4-2 win.
“I was proud of the effort. Lincoln County is a good team. It was a good, clean, hard-fought game and I’m happy to get a win,” said BHS coach Robb Williams.
Bluefield struck early, 90 seconds into the match, taking the lead when Donte Sisk dropped the ball into the goal.
The fast pace continued by both teams and two minutes later Lincoln County drew even on a score by Tristan Roberts.
Three minutes later Bluefield retook the lead for good when Evan Abbey dribbled inside the box and scored. The Beavers added their final first half goal when Zach Springman scored from point blank range.
The Panthers closed the gap when Tanner Dingess found the lower left corner of the net for the goal and the match was 3-2 in favor of Bluefield at the intermission.
Play continued at a furious pace in the second half, but the scoring slowed. The only goal came with six minutes remaining in the contest when Springman headed the ball into the net on an assist from Abbey t make it 4-2 and that would be the final score.
“We practice a lot on head shots and corner kicks,” Williams said. “That was a set play. We’ve scored a bunch like that this year. We’ve got some talent, but we’re young. We have a new assistant coach, my son (Devin Williams) and we’re trying to figure things out.”
The Beavers lost 12 seniors from last year’s state tournament team to graduation and currently start four freshmen.
“They work hard and they are starting to develop,” Williams noted. “Our goal is to compete with our cross-county rival, PikeView. They are THE team in this section of the state. We’re trying to work to get to their level, to play with them.”
The Beavers are now 5-4 on the season, while Lincoln County is 1-5.
Lincoln County coach Andy Banfi said, “Our team played great. They played to their capability. It’s probably the second time this year they’ve played this good. I’m very happy. We got beat but it was a good game and I’m very happy.”
Bluefield hosts Pocahontas County next Saturday afternoon.
— Contact Bob Redd at