LENORE — So far so good for the Chapmanville Regional High School soccer team.
The brand new squad is getting its feat wet this summer during the three-week June summer practice period ahead of this August when the Tigers are scheduled to begin their first ever season.
On Friday, Chapmanville traveled to Lenore and won a trio of scrimmages. The Tigers beat Mingo Central (6-5 in OT), Belfry, Ky. (2-1) and Tug Valley (1-0), which is also fielding a team for the first time in school history.
In the Mingo Central match, Zach Lamb scored two goals for the Tigers and also netted a penalty kick. Ryan Belcher, Stevie Clemmons and Austin Hanshaw all had one goal. Lamb also assisted in three goals, while Clemmons had one assist.
Chapmanville goalie Joe Toth had 18 saves for Chapmanville. Mingo Central’s goalie stopped 26 shots on goal.
Ben Chapman had 14 tackles for the Tigers. Clemmons had nine and Kaylee Bowe eight.
CRHS had 27 turnovers and had two corner kicks. The Miners had five corners.
“There are three major tackles — block tackle, slide block tackle and the sliding tackle. All are designed for a take away from an opponent,” Chapmanville coach Greg Dillon said. “A lot of clubs consider taking the ball away to be a tackle. I want the bar raised higher for my group. Not only do I want the ball taken, but it must controlled by his team in some fashion to be awarded a stat. It limits the BOOM ball mentality that just results in another turnover. Just having the ball come to you and kick it, a U9 player can do this. We are at a higher level and control and touch skill is the name of the game.”
Mingo Central went up 2-0 with a couple of quicks scores. Hanshaw then scored for Chapmanville at the 13:38 mark in the first half.
“Mingo Central then started attacking our weakside defense and dribbled past them for a 4-1 advantage 32 minutes into first half,” Coach Dillon said.
The Tigers then rallied.
Belcher squeezed by defenders in a cluster after a corner kick and chipped in a 3-yard shot to make it 4-2.
Lamb then made it 4-3 with a 10-yard angle shot as CRHS trailed by one at halftime.
Clemmons tied it 4-4 with a goal before Mingo scored and went up 5-4.
A handball penalty in the box then resulted in a penalty kick for Lamb. He knocked it in the right corner of the net to tie it up 5-5 at the of regulation.
Since it’s just a scrimmage and not a regular season match, the game did not end in a tie. Both sides decided to play a 10-minute overtime period and Lamb eventually scored the winning goal with one minute remaining after a long ball assist from Chapman.
CRHS summer session assistant coach Janet Hanshaw said she saw some good things.
“We have repositioned some people in places they are better suited to play,” she said. “If you are not fast and not in shape, you can’t obviously be up front and try to score. Our defense was confused many times during the Poca scrimmage. We never seemed like we wanted to win the ball or didn’t know how to angle the tackle.”
Added Dillon, “We have tightened them up and had them be more aggressive , while covering the goal. Most of the kids have improved. I like what I am seeing. The game had its ebs and flows. Mingo got out on us quick and we had some great defense and hussle by Olivia Bryant, Kaylee Bowe and Ben Chapman. We kept a very aggressive Mingo Central team denied from their shots on goal.”
Chapmanville also played a close match with Tug Valley, winning 1-0 over the Panthers. Tug Valley, like CRHS and Logan, are making history this fall with the school’s first ever soccer teams.
Tug Valley coach Tiffany Young said it’s an exciting time for her team.
“I am blown away by the help and skill CRHS has done to help out our program,” Young said. “It’s very heartfelt by our community that people come together to help the kids. We appreciate Chapmanville Coach Dillon for his getting us together and helping to mold our youth. the kids are excited about going back to Tug Valley and representing their school.”
Lamb, Chapmanville’s center, said it’s coming together.
“A lot of what Coach Greg has been sharing was confusing. It’s now coming together. We are not where he wants us but we are better than we have ever been. The chemistry from the team is clicking,” Lamb said.
Toth, the Tigers’ goalie, said the team has learned a lot.
“Coach Greg was constantly correcting me, reinventing my game, having me doing things I had not only never did but never even heard of,” Toth said. “I rebelled on him for a bit. He laughed and took it in stride and told me he wanted me to be the best I could be, a leader, to inspire greatness in my team and in others. I didn’t know I could do that. When I gave up the first two goals I thought he would pull me. He came up and said, ‘You have them right where you want them Joe. Keep up the good work.’ I thought, ‘Heck yeah.’ The positive energy breeds positive energy. We played great defense and got a win.”
Dillon said it was a good day for his new team.
“I was very impressed how the front of Dylan Brown, Zach Lamb, Stevie Clemmons and Austin Hanshaw meshed together. The grass was high so that slowed the spin on the ball but it helped and hurt everyone equally,” he said. “Mingo County has some excellent athletes. Coach Lester has done a fine job coaching. It’s always good for the kids and the program to get a win. But to come from behind and win? That demonstrates character.”
Chapmanville has one more week left this week with the three-week summer practice period.
“The season is starting off good, but all our minds and hearts are with the disaster areas,” Dillon said. “Hopefully the sun will shine and the creek won’t rise so we can continue. But my heart goes out to the families in the flood water areas.”
Regular season practices are slated to begin Aug. 1.
Chapmanville hosts the presesaon Soccer Rama on Aug. 13 at Tiger Stadium.
The historic first-ever soccer game for the Tigers is Aug. 20 at 6 p.m. at home against the same Tug Valley Panthers.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).