Written By: Logan Barker
On Saturday, Mingo Central traveled up to meet Bluefield for an early morning soccer match. Only 11 players showed up excluding one of their captains, Christian Joplin who had to sit out due to receiving a red card against Chapmanville on Thursday evening. He is expected to return against Shady Spring at home. (That game starts at 7 pm on 9/11/23 at Buck Harless Stadium on the mountain.)
The presence Joplin makes on the field was greatly missed by the Miners as the defense really struggled to stop Bluefield in the early minutes.
Bluefield was able to net 3 goals in the first 20 minutes of the game. At the half, the score was 6-1 in Bluefield’s favor. Mingo’s only goal was scored by Blake Stacy toward the end of the first half. The first half heavily favored Bluefield as the Miners went into the half with needing to find a way to slow down the Beavers at home.
As the second half began, the Miners came out with a different level of intensity. This charge was lead by defender/midfielder Caleb Simpkins and goal keeper Mason Hatfield who had 17 saves before he twisted his ankle with 15 minutes left in the second half to go. The Miners were able to hold Bluefield to 2 goals in the second half while also putting up 1 goal. It was Kendan Trent who connected with a goal within the first minutes of the second half. Stacy and Trent were the only 2 that took shots on the goal. Stacy went 1-of-3 with 1 corner kick and Trent was 1-of-5. Trent and Stacy both assisted each other’s goals. Their on the field chemistry is extremely strong and that’s going to mean something in the later games of the season.
Mingo really played a whole lot better coming out of the locker room during the second half, but it was too late. The score was already such a big margin and there wasn’t a lot of time to score many goals. The game ended with a score of 8-2 in favor of Bluefield and Mingo Central has officially lost their first game of the season. Bluefield is now over .500 and advances to 3-2 on the year while Mingo drops to 2-1 on the season and is now no longer undefeated.
Someone who really surprised me was midfielder/goal keeper Autumn White. She recently joined the team with the rest of the girls this Thursday when Mingo Central announced the soccer team as a co-ed team. White moved from left midfielder and stepped in at goal keeper during the final 15 minutes and managed to get 6 saves on the goal with 2 goals scored on her.
There is a lot of potential for this Mingo Central soccer team and several of them have never played soccer in their lives. A big factor to their success is their new head coach Brad Rawls.
”It was a tough loss, we only had 11 kids,” said Rawls. “Not making excuses but we had 11 kids come out today to make the trip so that made us hard on subs. Running and all that, but the biggest take away is the first half I believe we were still half asleep on the bus ride here. The second half I actually believe we tied 1-1 in the second half. I’m very impressed the way we played the second half. The first half was a little shaky, but it was the first road game of the season, so we’ll go from there.”
Rawls also heaped a lot of praise on Hatfield.
“Before he (Hatfield) got injured, he had 17 saves. Now he had some goals scored on him, but he had 17 saves which is really impressive.”
This Saturday at 2 pm the Miners have another rough road game at Pikeview.