Beaver soccer

Bluefield’s Charlie Merritt tries to get the ball away from Mountain Mission’s Ermias Mekonnen during the Beavers’ 2-0 loss on Thursday at East River Soccer Complex.

EAST RIVER — The name given to the boys soccer team at Grundy Mountain Mission — the Challengers — is misleading. The true challenge lies with their opposition.

Thursday night at the East River Soccer Complex, the Bluefield Beavers took that challenge. Goals by Danny Wilson and Nahom Mulugeta gave the Challengers a 2-0 win, but the Beavers more than held their own against a team with an overabundance of talent, speed, and skill.

“I was extremely pleased,” Bluefield head coach Kevin Goforth said. “Our defense was super strong the whole game long and that’s what kept us in the game. We just couldn’t put anything together.”

“I think they played near their top level,” Mountain Mission head coach Russ Hertzog said when asked about his side.

“They worked really well to pass the ball around, did everything they were asked. They hustled and won every loose ball that they saw. And overall they played a very smart and intelligent game.”

The Challengers are a collection of players extremely skilled in the art of putting a foot to a ball.

That skill finally cracked through the Beavers’ defense in the 54th minute as Wilson finally put in a goal after two previous shots were blocked off the line.

“A lot of ’em can play soccer before they can walk,” Hertzog said. “We’ve got a lot of international students at Mountain Mission School and presently a lot of our students are from Ethiopia. It’s a sport that’s very highly valued over there and they learn to play it very early on.”

The brightest star in the Mountain Mission galaxy was lone senior Mulugeta. He spent the night sidestepping and speeding past Bluefield defenders. He scored in the 75th minute after powering through two Beavers, then faking out a third.

“He’s been a tremendous pleasure to have for the last four years,” Hertzog said. “I’ll be really sad to see him go — not just the skill but the leadership he brings on the field. Just an intelligent player, amazing.”

Bluefield also had a star that shone brightly Thursday night. Warren Furrow, the goalkeeper who had not played soccer before this season, drove the Beavers by stopping 17 of the 21 shots he faced — many of them laser beams from Mulugeta’s feet.

“That’s what I ask of a keeper, if they can give me one or two (tough saves),” Goforth said. “But Warren gave me multiple tonight and it kept us in the game and it kept us close and all the way through even though they were pounding on us a little bit.”

Grundy Mountain Mission (1-0) will play Oak Hill Academy in their next game.

Bluefield (0-1) hosts Shady Spring on Tuesday. Goforth was the losing coach, but he left the complex Thursday night very satisfied.

“We’ve definitely got a lot to work on especially through our midfield getting the ball to our strikers,” Goforth said. “It’s a real building process and we have a lot to build on.”

— Contact Jed Lockett


At East River Soccer Complex Field 1

Goals — Mountain Mission: Danny Wilson (54), Nahom Mulugeta (75). Assists — None. Halftime — 0-0. Shots (On Goal) — Mountain Mission 34 (21); Bluefield 2 (2). Corner Kicks — Mountain Mission 8; Bluefield 2. Offsides — Mountain Mission 2; Bluefield 0. Fouls — Mountain Mission 9; Bluefield 13. Cards — Bluefield: Josh Bryant (Y 39), Sean Cornelius (Y 52).

Bluefield girls roll past OHA

EAST RIVER — Five different Bluefield Beavers found the net as Bluefield got a comfortable 5-2 victory over Oak Hill Academy Thursday night at the East River Soccer Complex.

Stacey Rogers and Gracie Matthews scored to give Bluefield a 2-1 lead in the first half and Tiara Carper, Madison Hayes, and Jordan Hammond added goals in the second half.

Kathleen Lively scored both goals for Oak Hill Academy.

The Beavers will travel to Nicholas County next Tuesday at 5 p.m.

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