After their best regular season record in school history, the West Union boys soccer team knocked out the Peebles Indians in the first round of the postseason tournament with a 2-1 home win.
With the victory, the Dragons now stand with a 6-7-4 record and move on to take on the Lynchburg Clay Mustangs on Oct. 21 at 5 p.m. in a sectional final.
West Union junior Andre Wolke found classmate Tyler Swearingen about halfway through the first half on the right side of the box to put West Union up 1-0, a lead they would take into the half after both teams struck the crossbar later on, but failing to capitalize on either chance offensively.
Peebles senior Brennan Sims, who finished the season with 23 goals, looked primed to equalize right before the half when he received a free kick with only the goalie to beat. Sims took one touch to his left and got around West Union freshman goalkeeper, Clayton Madden, but the chance just went an inch wide, and Peebles trailed at the half.
West Union took a stranglehold on the game about 12 minutes into the second half when Madden, who was subbed as goalie at halftime, found freshman Connor Campbell who got behind two Peebles defenders and scored to make it 2-0.
Peebles, with less than a half hour to save their season, turned up the heat on offense and put chance after chance into the West Union box. And with 11:19 to play, Sims scored on a loose ball to his left at a near-impossible angle to give the Indians some life, now trailing only 2-1.
Sims got loose again two minutes later as he was even with two defenders, but his shot sailed on him as it soared over the crossbar and the chance went begging.
Peebles’ last real chance came with about six minutes to play when the ball got past the West Union goalkeeper and looked to be rolling over the line, but it was cleared by the Dragon defense at the last moment to preserve the victory, only the second postseason victory in school history.
“I’m very proud of these guys,” Peebles head coach Brian Seaman said. “They battled as hard as they could. I hate it for our three seniors though, I’m extremely proud of them. We had an opportunity to stay in it or win it but congratulations to West Union. They got that early lead and we just couldn’t catch up to them.”
While West Union lives to fight another day, Peebles is left looking to the future, which in their coach’s opinion, is very bright.
“Probably 75 percent of this team is the first time they’ve played high school soccer,” Seaman said. “We’ll have 10 players returning from this team and the future is bright for Peebles soccer.”
Reach Charles Grove at 937-544-2391 or firstname.lastname@example.org.