Soccer Bucs wrap preseason; open with defending state champ Morgantown

TENNERTON – The Buckhannon-Upshur boys’ soccer team wrapped up their preseason camp and will open their season Wednesday night on the road against the Morgantown Mohigans.

Kick-off is slated for 8:30 p.m.

The Bucs were slated to kick-off their schedule this Saturday at home against Greenbrier East but a change in the schedule has the Bucs opening now Wednesday with the Mohigans.

“Our schedule had to change due to scheduling conflicts later in the season with homecomings and us losing games due to a few teams previously scheduled not being able to field boys’ teams,” stated Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Mike Donato. “Since the state changed when our start date could be, we moved some games that were able to accommodate everyone and that included when we would open the season.”

Donato put his Bucs through their final preseason paces as they went to Brooke this past Saturday then hosted Parkersburg Monday in a scrimmage.

“We participated in the Brooke Soccer Rama and had a really good showing,” noted Donato. “We played three 40 minute games against Weir, Wheeling Central, and Washington and finished 1-1-1. Coach Pepe at Brooke always gives us a challenging schedule and we definitely got tested. We were able to finally see our formation and potential starters in a full game situation which we haven’t been able to simulate in practice and start working on depth and rotations in different positions. Parkersburg was a very difficult challenge for us. We had a short turn around after the soccer rama to face a top flight team in Parkersburg. We fell 7-0 but like I told the team at the end of the night its good we expose these mistakes in a scrimmage and early in the season as opposed to October. It will give us a lot to study on film and prep for Wednesday’s opener.”

With the preseason coming to a wrap, Donato said he was pleased with how everything went overall.

“Overall I think preseason went pretty well,” said Donato. “There are still some areas we need to see some significant improvement but I’ve also seen major growth as a team and at the individual levels.”

Donato said that going into the opener on Wednesday, that a few starting positions were still open.

“Heading into the opener, we still have some starting spots up for grabs,” noted Donato. “One of the few benefits of having a roster size this small is guys are fighting for playing time so it’s made for some interesting competition in practice and what we saw play out in these two scrimmages. We also are still trying to find a position fit for some guys to make sure we have depth at every position.”

Donato and the Bucs will be tested early as the Mohigans are the state Class AAA defending champions after winning the title in 2021 with a 2-0 win over Washington.

“Morgantown is the defending state champs so we are expecting to be traveling to the best team in the state on Wednesday,” concluded Donato. “Coach Snyder has done a great job with that program and we know his guys will be ready to play and want to defend their title. Year in and year out they have great talent and play fast and physical. If we can make the proper adjustments based on our Parkersburg scrimmage our guys will be up for the task.”

Following their opener, the Bucs will return home and face Greenbrier East on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

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