The Chapmanville Regional High School soccer team’s trip to Sissonville on Saturday was rather costly.
The Tigers lost 4-0 to the Indians, getting handed their first loss of the season, and also lost five players who went down with injuries.
Three other players did not play due to illness on the very hot afternoon in the Kanawha Valley.
The game was scoreless until the 23-minute mark of the first half. That’s when Chapmanville’s Kaylee Bowe suffered an injury.
“Kaylee Bowe had been putting on a defensive performance and helping to limit Sissonville’s scorer Tyler Grimm and others from making any serious threats,” CRHS Coach Greg Dillon said. “Then while she was attempting a take-away she was caught with a knee to side of her thigh and knee. She tried to recover and spun an awkward way. She went down with knee injury. She was administered by Sissonville’s very good trainers and was carried from the field.”
To Chapmanville’s surprise, Sissonville was awarded a free kick and on the next direct kick, Tyler Grimm hit a 34-yard left upper corner shot to put the Indians up 1-0.
Chapmanville battled back and the game went back and forth with outstanding defensive play from Christian Stafford, Amber Stokes and Joe Toth.
Fourteen shots were attempted on goalie Ben Chapman.
“He was very athletic and quick-handed to get those shots. It was hard to stop the shots with their pass skill. Luckily, Ben deflected or saved several shot on goal,” Dillon said. “Dylan Brown, Fidelis Nwafor, Zach Brown, Dillon Renninger and Ryan Belcher were stymied on offense for the most part. But the combo passing of Zach Lamb and Dylan Brown took the ball down and had several shots on goal — one by Brown which bounced off the top bar, which would have tied it up.”
On the defensive end, the Tigers’ Catherine Carter, Patricia Haddox, Baylie Holton and Hailey Chewning kept the pressure up and on the Sissonville onslaught of shots.
“They pressed their attackers and got the turnover,” Dillon said. “Once you win one turnover, you believe you can do it again and it starts happening. Then Patricia Haddox went down with a shot to her ankle. She was out and substituted by Olivia Bryant and alternated with Kayla Baldwin. Both played extrememly aggressive.”
Later on, Lamb was bumped from the side, was knocked down and stayed down.
“Zach was injured enough that I opted to sit him for the entirety of the game,” Dillon said.
Sissonville reacted quickly to Chapmanville’s captain being knocked out of game.
Stafford again broke up an offensive play but was called for foul. Sissonville punched in another off the free kick by Watson Mosteller and as time expired it was 2-0 Sissonville at the half.
“My team was kind of shellshocked losing two starters and a sub in the first half,” Dillon said.
In the second half, the Tigers lost Jacob Richardson.
“He went in and made some aggressive plays on defense yet was hit in the head from another player going for ball and his glasses broke. He was out as well,” Dillon said.
Later, a Jacob Moles goal by the Indians made it 3-0 with 15 minutes to play in the game.
Soon after, Holton went down with an ankle injury.
With about four minutes left, the Indians punched in the game-sealing goal.
“Obviously we have to get better with our touch game,” Coach Dillon said. “Sissonville put on a clinic with us and with (Greater) Beckley (Christian), Pike Central and Nitro coming up this week, all on the road, we are in for stiff competition.”
Dylan Brown said the Tigers were unable to control the ball.
“Our turnovers killed us,” Brown said. “We didn’t maintain possession for more than five to 10 seconds before we turned it over to the Indians for another shot on our goalie. Thank God for Ben Chapman saving our bacon again and again.”
Dillon said Chewning played very well.
“I was impressed with Hailey Chewning today,” he said. “I looked her in the eye and asked her if she was up to it and she said, ‘I can deal with these guys.’ I told her to get it done. She put her body on several guys to give us a much needed physical front. Christian Stafford had been playing up to Sissonville’s level of aggression all day and when Hailey caught on, Dillon and Joe started manning up. Several key blocks from super sweeper Amber Stokes and Kayla Baldwin kept the Sissonville boys in check.”
Carter said the Indians were very good and very physical.
“The Sissonville players were all like 6-foot and 180 pounds,” she said. “It was unnerving at first but Coach Dillon told us how to get inside them and take away their power. It’s scary but it worked. I will work on it, but even our loss was a win for us. We had never experienced anything like this level of play and coach prepared us the best he could, but until you actually do it you don’t know what to expect.”
The Tigers were scheduled to play at Greater Beckley Christian on Monday. On Tuesday, Chapmanville travels to Pike Central (Ky.) for a 7 p.m. match before going to play at a very good Nitro team on Thursday at 6 p.m.
“We are on the road all this week. It will be a tough week but manageable,” Dillon said. “We are going to have to look at our injuries and monitor each kid. I am still beside myself over losing Kaylee Bowe. I would urge each person to pray for a swift recovery. I’m proud of each kid. The community should be extremely respectful of them. They have taken all of Chapmanville’s best qualities interlocked with the kid’s desire for excellence and play on a first-year program and actually compete with other established programs. I would hope others in the school would come out and support these young men and women.”
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).