On the heels of their exceptional Sectional win last week over Morgantown Trinity, the Tyler Consolidated boys soccer team represented themselves very well at the Region I championships, but unfortunately, took the fall to the Red Riders of Weir, 2-1 on Wheeling Island on Oct. 27.
"It was a very close game, and we played very well," said Knight head coach, Scott Wall. "We felt we were very well prepared for this game, and I think we were. But they were quick, and we had several missed opportunities that wound up costing us."
In a fast paced, defensive struggle, the Riders scored first in the first half of the game to lead the Silver by one.
"When we were down by one, the guys kicked in to an even higher level of play," the coach said. "We really wanted this win. But when the half ended, we were still down. In the second half, Mario Mantecone scored on an assist from Jeremy Smith that put us right back in it with them."
Within minutes, Weir puddled a ball into the net for their second score of the evening, giving them the edge once again, by one.
Late in the second, after several quick passes, a Knight score that would have tied the game at two and built momentum, was disallowed on an offsides call.
"None of us saw the offsides," Wall said. "But the referee called it and we abide by that, but it sure would have made all the difference in the game. All the air went out of our sails after that."
Goal keeper Skylar Kinnard had eight saves in net in the game.
"I've got to give credit to all of our guys, they each played as well as we expected them too, exceeded our expectations in fact. This has been a great group of kids to work with, they've not given up or failed to show progress and improvement every single week."
The Silver Knights finished the 2011 season with a 10-6-3 win/loss record.
"We could have done without the ties," Wall said. "Those scores should never have happened. But then, that's soccer."
"We've had a great season with great kids, and I don't think a coach can ask for more than that."
Tyler Consolidated's boys soccer team will lose five seniors to graduation: Skylar Kinnard, Jeremy Smith, Chris Postlethwait, Nik Keller and Tanner Buchanan; who the coach says will be difficult to replace. "But these guys were the youngsters once too, and they replaced seniors and moved their way up in the line-up and that's what we're expecting from the returning guys next year."
"Of course we're going to miss the play and personalities of these five guys, but as we do every year, we'll have to move on. They'll become part of that special group of alumni fans and the young kids will take over."
"We've seen a lot of growth this year alone from our sophomores and freshmen, and hopefully they'll all return to be part of the team next year. I hope they don't get discouraged, and I hope they're back, ready to continue where we left off this year."
"We've had a very good season, and it's because of our players, our team."