TENNERTON – One noticeable change in the Buckhannon-Upshur soccer Lady Bucs’ seven-game winning streak is the improved play of the defense.
In two their first two games, without starting keeper Kyndal Davis, the Lady Bucs gave up nine goals in a pair of losses.
Since then, the defense, with Davis back in net, has allowed just six goals and notched four shutouts during their seven-game run.
That strong defensive play continued in the Lady Bucs’ 4-1 win over the Liberty Mountaineers Tuesday evening at the high school in a Big 10 Conference clash.
Senior center back Kiki Arbogast has been at the lead of the improved defensive playing, saying the new B-U back line just needed some time to gel this season.
“It has just been a matter of practicing and working together,” said Arbogast. “We had to learn some new concepts this fall and we are a young team. We pretty much have a brand new back line this year, so it has been a learning experience with how each of us play, work together and communicate.”
As the Lady Buc defense posted a shutout in the first half, the offense piled up three goals for a 3-0 lead at the break.
With the game scoreless in the first 27 minutes of action, the Lady Bucs broke the ice when Lexi Kelley played a through ball from Catherine Oliveto and beat the Liberty keeper with a shot to the right side of the net.
Four minutes later, Oliveto got into the scoring act with an unassisted goal from 30 yards out after a failed clear by Liberty.
Kyleigh Keener wrapped up the first-half scoring when she blasted home a penalty kick after a Liberty handball in the box.
Liberty’s Sydney Vilain scored the Mountaineers lone goal in the 46th minute making it a 3-1 contest.
Chloe Cale put the icing on the cake for the Lady Bucs with a goal after playing a cross in front of the net by Hannah Boyles in the 62nd minute.
“Liberty had some nice speed and had a couple of through balls, but I thought our defense played well again,” stated Arbogast. “We will keep working hard and keep trying to get better.”
The Lady Bucs held a 12-5 lead in shots-on-goal and a 6-0 margin in corner kicks. Davis made four saves for the Lady Bucs while Emma Kyle made eight stops for Liberty.
The win left the Lady Bucs with a 7-2 record overall and a perfect 5-0 record in the Big 10.
The Lady Bucs will play again Thursday at Fairmont Senior. The game will start at 6 p.m.
Liberty 0 1 – 1
Buckhannon-Upshur 3 1 – 4
Buckhannon-Upshur – Lexi Kelley (Catherine Oliveto assist), 28th minute.
Buckhannon-Upshur – Oliveto (unassisted), 32nd minute.
Buckhannon-Upshur – Kyleigh Keener (penalty kick), 35th minute.
Liberty – Sydney Vilain (unassisted), 46th minute.
Buckhannon-Upshur – Chloe Cale (Hannah Boyles assist), 62nd minute.
Shots-on-goal – Liberty 5; Buckhannon-Upshur 12.
Corner kicks – Liberty 0; Buckhannon-Upshur 6.
Saves – Liberty: Emma Kyle 8; Buckhannon-Upshur: Kyndal Davis 4.