Keyser soccer makes history with win over Fairmont Senior
KEYSER - 16-0, 17-1, 12-0, 8-0, 9-1. Since 2016, playing one game against each other every year, these are the tallies by which Fairmont Senior has defeated Keyser in boys’ soccer. If you total the numbers, it’s a combined margin of 62-2.
That’s what made Keyser’s 5-2 victory over Fairmont Senior on Saturday at home perhaps the biggest soccer victory in school history.
“It felt good, it really did. Obviously, it’s something we set out to do every year, to beat a Fairmont school. We know how good Fairmont Senior is, winning back-to-back state championships. We never really came close until Saturday,” Keyser coach Chris Halbritter stated.
According to Halbritter, “The kids all came together and played a really good game, playing the full 80 minutes. That’s the first time we’ve played up to our potential for the full 80 minutes.”
Seth Earnest opened all scoring by putting Keyser on the board first with an unassisted goal with 32:06 remaining in the first half. Bubby Towns from Fairmont Senior hit an equalizer at the 22:59 mark. Less than one minute later, assisted by Lonnie Pridemore, Alec Stanislawczyk hit a goal to put Keyser on top 2-1 at the half.
Keyser then scored two goals after admission that lifted the Black and Gold to a 4-1 advantage. First, Harris Boggs, assisted by Seth Earnest scored with 29:27 left in the game. Then Earnest, assisted by Edan Parks, scored his second goal of the contest with 21:49 remaining in the game.
Fairmont Senior would then get a goal from Young to inch closer a 4-2 less than a minute later. Finally, Stanislawczyk, unassisted, hit his second goal of the game with 59 seconds remaining to lift Keyser to the final advantage of 5-2.
“At halftime, when we were up 2-1, I told the guys not to get comfortable and I think they understood why. We know from the past that Fairmont can score goals quickly. Up 2-1, they didn’t get comfortable,” Habritter remarked.
How does team turn a 9-1 loss from a year ago into a three-goal win this season?
“Our biggest change is that we were more aggressive going to the ball, they did that amazingly. I think we can win teams against teams more talented than us if we’re more aggressive.” Halbritter stated.
The fifth goal to extend the lead to three goals was the dagger.
“Even with a 4-2 lead, our guys knew we still weren’t done, and that’s when Alec Stanislawczyk scored the fifth goal, and that was the dagger there. They had pushed a lot of guys up on offense to get their goals, that made their defense vulnerable. That fifth goal really sealed the door for us,” Halbritter explained.
There’s a sense within the program that a win like this one is the culmination of four years or so of growth. These seniors, many of them, have been starting from the time they were freshmen. They took some lumps, but have continued to improve, progressing steadily year after year. The hard work has paid off. Those lumps previously taken are more palatable now.
“The guys are well aware, I’ve talked to them about this. They’ve always had the potential to win games, but they are juniors and seniors now, they’re bigger, they’re stronger, they’re older,” Halbritter stated.
According to Halbritter, “I really think this senior class is special, they know that they can win. This really opened their eyes I think a little bit to what they can do. Hopefully, the momentum will continue and it will turn into a good season.”
So was this the biggest win in the history of Keyser High School Soccer. Halbritter thinks it is.
“I believe it is, yes. I was part of a team in 2010, after Berkeley Springs had won the state championship the year before, that beat Berkeley Springs. We were down 2-0 and came back to beat them. But I would say when you consider Fairmont Senior and their state championships and the results we’ve had with them the years before, this has to be the biggest win,” Halbritter explained.
For Halbritter, it’s a full circle moment. He experienced successes and struggles as a player in the program. He experiences successes and struggles as the head coach of the program. No moment has been bigger than this one.
“Nothing else stands up to this really. The biggest reward we can get from this is to get the community to recognize what Keyser’s soccer program can do. To really put us on the map for younger kids wanting to come up and play. That, and seeing the looks on these kids faces for what they accomplished was special.”