MAN — Last year was a learning experience for the Man High School soccer team being a first-year program.
There were some lumps and bumps along the way but also some positive signs.
Man finished 1-13 last season but were competitive. The lone win was a 4-3 victory over Tug Valley.
The Hillbillies ended up losing 4-2 in a double overtime shootout to Tug Valley in the Class AA/A sectionals.
There were some other close calls along the way in narrow losses to Tug Valley by 3-1 and 6-4 scores and a 3-2 setback to county rival Chapmanville. A 4-1 loss to Logan was also a well played game.
Man looks to improve this fall.
The first match for the Billies is set for September 19 at home against Independence.
“The schedule didn’t reflect it but we stayed competitive from mid-season on just about every game,” Man coach Jeff Gore said. “Our sectional game went to double overtime and a shootout. Last year was a good first season. The high school style game is different from the Rec style because there are different rules that you have to get to.”
Since the season was delayed due to COVID-19 concerns and Logan County being classified as red or orange on the state’s virus match, Man is getting a late start.
“Just getting to play a game right now is a goal,” Gore said. “Our county will hopefully get to move into yellow by the time we are able to play after we get our practices in. Beyond that, it would be hoping to get our level of competitiveness to where we can build on last year.”
Gore has a small co-ed roster.
“We are a co-ed team,” he said. “We’ve got our first week of practice in and we are looking for leaders but we do have some players coming back. We have 12 players right now on the roster. I’m supposed to have more coming. I’ve had some players who have come into contact with people who have had the virus and tested negative but have to quarantine. All we can do now is take it Saturday to Saturday and hopefully we can trend down. We’re going to find out each Saturday and see if we can play.”
Brandon Maynard, Jessica Parker, Mackenzie Bartram, Makya Ward and Madison Cooper are some top players coming back for Man this season. All played last year.
Rounding out the roster are: Jack Thomas; Jacob Bartram; Austin Rayburn; William Wilson; and Gracie Tackett. Two other Man students may also join the team shortly.
“All but two of the current players are seasoned players,” Gore said. “Austin Rayburn, William Wilson and Gracie Tackett hold six first place season in Rec.”
“We also have some new players coming in to the high school from the middle school,” Gore said. “The turnout has been pretty light. I’ve had some players and parents say that because of COVID-19 they just don’t want to take a chance.”
Man only has nine scheduled games in the abbreviated 2020 season.
The Billies play county rival Logan twice and also Chapmanville once.
2020 Man High School
Boys’ Soccer Schedule:
Sept. 19: Independence, 3 p.m.
Sept. 22 at Logan, 6 p.m.
Sept. 26: Tug Valley, 3 p.m.
Sept. 29: Mingo Central, 6 p.m.
Oct. 1: at Huntington St. Joe, 5:30 p.m.
Oct. 3: Logan, 3 p.m.
Oct. 6: at Chapmanville, 6 p.m.
Oct. 10: Lincoln County, 3 p.m.
Oct. 13: at Sissonville, 5 p.m..