PRINCETON — Tuesday was senior night for Princeton Senior High School soccer, but in the girls’ game at Everette K. Bailey Stadium, it was Bluefield seniors wearing the visitors’ colors who scored a quartet of goals in a 4-1 win over the Tigers.
The final score of the contest belonged to Princeton senior captain Laken Dye, who caught up with a ricochet and fired it in with 4.6 seconds remaining on the scoreboard. Dye remained on the turf for several minutes due to an injury on the scoring play.
Taylor Papa nailed the first goal on a 35-yard shot, off an assist from Kellan Tabor. Presley Parris scored from close range with 1:15 left in the first half for a 2-0 advantage at the break.
Bluefield took just five shots in the first half, but four of them were on goal. Princeton issued 11 shots in the first half and 42 overall.
The second period was slightly more than a minute old when Papa fed the ball to Tabor, who launched a shot from about 40 yards out for the next goal.
The Beavers finished off their scoring with 5:47 to go. Papa took a pass from Jordan Jones and managed to maintain social distancing from the Princeton defense before booting the ball into the left side of the goal.
Bluefield keeper Sandraya Dickey and her defense combined for 15 saves as the Beavers improved to 2-0-1. Princeton and Bluefield had tied 3-3 in their first contest of this season.
“I think the big difference was, we came in knowing what to expect,” said Bluefield head coach Tyler Bulson. “And we adapted our game accordingly.”
Asked if his seniors were especially motivated to play Princeton, Bulson said, “I don’t want to put words into their mouths, but I would say this is the most important game of the season … because it’s Princeton.”
Papa said that playing the Tigers is “one of our hardest games of the season. Our team prepares so hard, our practices are so serious before we play Princeton. We just know that we have to come out and give it our all.”
She said she and her teammates were happy simply to be able to play games in a season plagued by sporadic coronavirus shutdowns.
“For all the seniors, it’s so heartbreaking when we don’t get to play. So when we actually get to, we put all we have into it.”
She added, “Our defense, they work so hard. We could not be the team we are without our defense.”
Princeton is now 1-1-1 this season. Head coach Michelle Dye said, “Kudos to Bluefield. They have Kellan and Taylor, and those two girls, for the past three years, they have dominated us every time we play.”
“My girls are intimidated by them (Bluefield), and it definitely showed tonight,” the coach said. “We just don’t play up to our potential for some reason.”
Princeton will host PikeView today at the county seat in a makeup contest. The girls game is at 5 p.m., followed by the boys’ game and then a half of junior varsity boys soccer.
Michelle Dye said, “I think we’ll be fine. … There are some adjustments that need made, but I think we’ll be fine.”
Bluefield travels to Beckley on Thursday to play Woodrow Wilson, their second Class AAA foe in a row.