Frankfort boys edge Keyser in 3-2 soccer thriller
By Chapin Jewell
SHORT GAP - On Tuesday, after their opening game, Frankfort senior Ben Nestor was recognized as the Falcon’s lone senior on a squad of 15 players. As such, you might call senior night “Ben Nestor Night” at Frankfort.
After Nestor’s heroics in the closing minutes of the Falcons 3-2 victory over Keyser in Short Gap on Thursday, the Falcon faithful most likely wanted to dub Thursday night “Ben Nestor Night” as well.
With Frankfort clinging to a 3-2 lead over Keyser in the waning moments of the contest, Keyser ripped off a shot towards what at the time was an unmanned net with the goalie out of position. Nestor raced to the ball and managed to clear it at the last possible second with his left foot to preserve Frankfort’s 3-2 victory.
“The ball was going in, it would have been 3-3. Ben got there, just got there in time, cleared it, got it away, and that kept the score 3-2. That goes in, it’s 3-3, a tie. That one clearance saved the win for us,” Frankfort boys’ soccer coach Patrick Brett said after the contest.
It was an incredibly tight, well played, back and forth affair by both teams.
It took more than 13 minutes, but Frankfort struck the back of the net first with a Cameron Lynch goal at the 26:45 mark to push the Falcons to a 1-0 lead. Just four minutes later (22:56), Keyser’s Alec Stanislawczyk knotted the game at 1-1 apiece. Just three minutes after that (19:31), Seth Earnest put the Golden Tornado on top 2-1 with a goal.
One minute and two seconds later, Frankfort’s Levi Sgaggero drew a foul in the box and delivered a game equalizing goal at the 18:29 mark. The teams would enter halftime knotted up at two goals apiece.
“Well, you know, we just never really knew exactly how it was going to come out. I was hoping we would be competitive and we were. I thought in the second half we were just the better team by a long way, the first half was very even. But, the boys fought, they gave everything again, left everything on the field, and I couldn’t be more proud of them,” explained.
In the second half, the Frankfort defense limited Keyser’s offensive opportunities. The Frankfort offense upped their game and opened up more offensive opportunities of their own. Finally, with 13:23 left in the contest, Falcon sophomore Levi Sgaggero lifted a goal from left to right that was touched by the extended hand of the Keyser goalie but bounced into the back of the net, giving Frankfort the 3-2 lead for good.
Factor in Ben Nestor’s win-saving clearance of a ball kicked towards the open goal and the Falcons claimed victory.
The loss drops Keyser to 1-2 on the season, but the Golden Tornado, who took Frankfort to the absolute brink, are showing signs of improvement and promise for the season.
The win ups Frankfort’s record to 2-0 on the young season with young also being the operative word to describe the Falcons’ roster. Brett is impressed with what he’s seen thus far.
“Here’s the deal. I knew we had ability, but asking young boys to step up into a varsity arena, you never know what’s going to happen, and they’ve stepped up. We are better than I thought in terms of competitive, varsity, high school soccer. I knew we had talent, but we are overachieving for our age. We’re playing above our age, that’s the best way I can put it.”
Frankfort hosts East Fairmont today at 2 p.m. Keyser will next host Berkeley Springs on Tuesday, September 15 at 7 p.m.