Keyser shows improvement in soccer openers in Martinsburg

Staff Writer
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Keyser's Noah Sprouse controls the ball in the air.
Tribune photo by Chapin Jewell

By Chapin Jewell

Tribune Correspondent

KEYSER - If you were teleported into Alumni and Friends Field in Keyser on Saturday, knowing nothing about Keyser soccer, your first impression when looking at the scoreboard after both the boys’ and girls’ games against Martinsburg, you would most certainly think Keyser fans would be disappointed with both results.

For Keyser fans and head coaches Chris Halbritter (boys) and Dan Dawson (girls), however, the results on the scoreboard, a 5-1 loss for the boys and 7-1 loss for the girls, tell a positive tale, not one of disappointment but rather of tremendous improvement.  

On the boys’ side, there’s not much of a difference between the score this year (5-1) and last year (6-1). The reality, however, is that considering all the factors, Keyser’s performance against AAA Martinsburg was much more solid. Martinsburg jumped out to a 2-0 lead at the half, however, a goal by Josiah Robinson of Keyser just a few minutes into the second half cut the lead to 2-1.  

Through 60 minutes of play, Martinsburg held only a slim 2-1 lead over the host Tornado boys before a barrage of three goals late in the game extended the final margin to 5-1.

“It’s great to be here playing, the boys were excited to play. We’re just happy that the season is going on. The kids are playing much, much better. The first sixty minutes we were down only 2-1 and had the momentum. Then we got tired, we’re only rotating 13 or 14 guys, so we just got wore out,” Keyser boys’ coach Chris Halbritter stated.

According to Halbritter, “I’m happy with how we played through the first sixty, I’m hoping it doesn’t become a habit that we fall apart after sixty. I don’t think they were four goals better than us though, our overall performance through the first sixty minutes I was more than happy, but a bit disappointed in the last twenty.”

On the girls’ side, the improvement was drastic. A season ago, Keyser’s Lady Tornado fell at Martinsburg by the tremendously lopsided score of 17-0. Fast forward one year, and what was a 17-goal margin has dropped to a six-goal margin (7-1).  

Martinsburg jumped out to a 6-0 lead until Keyser’s Carlie Delsignore booted the Tornado into the scoring column with 25:26 remaining in the contest. Last year, Keyser had been outscored nearly 100-0 before they put a goal into the back of the net. This year, Delsignore had the Lady Tornado on the scoreboard less than an hour into the season.

“I absolutely enjoyed it, there’s no better feeling in the world than being out here on the sidelines running up and down, yelling and screaming. We were in the attacking end a whole lot more than we were last year where we had maybe one shot on goal the entire match.  This is a faster team, they do pass the ball better, and, they played, they played for 80 minutes, Keyser girls’ coach Dan Dawson stated.

According to Dawson, “Competing against Martinsburg helps these young players know what they have to do to be successful.  Its not stand and wait, it’s not kicking the ball just to kick the ball.  It’s understanding passing lanes, it’s understanding runs, it’s understanding defensive positioning on the field. With the younger kids, you just have to be patient, but they did a great job today.

Both Keyser teams next played Petersburg on Tuesday and earned big wins with the girls victorious 6-1, and the boys winners by a tally of 15-0.  Details of those games will be forthcoming.

Carlie Delsignore scored Keyser's lone goal of the contest.
Tribune photo by Chapin Jewell