Apr. 9—FROSTBURG — Walker Barclay scored twice and the seniors reigned supreme on Senior Night, as Mountain Ridge defeated Allegany, 3-0, on Thursday evening at Miner Stadium.
“We played a complete game,” said Miners head coach Tim Nightengale. “The first maybe five, six minutes it took us a little bit to get settled in. Allegany has such a nice passing game and they were finding space. We talked about the adjustments the last time we played them and they adjusted to that and put somebody in space in behind the adjustment we had made, and our outside defenders adjusted to that too. Our pressure tonight I felt gave Allegany a lot of problems. Taking away those options really forced them into things they weren’t comfortable doing.
“I told our defense, it was completely solid. (Eathan) Ashenfelter in goal made some great saves. The midfield, outside and central mid, played really well tonight. And up top, you have Ritchie making an outstanding play in the corner winning the ball and making a great service that Walker was in the right place. Walker Barclay played a great game tonight — he played everywhere. … We’re really proud of all our boys for persevering and battling through the adversity we’re facing. They’re just a great group of kids. You couldn’t ask for any better. They do whatever we ask them to do and the result we got tonight, they earned it.”
It was all Allegany in the early going, as John Wittman fired a shot from the top left corner of the box that sailed over the crossbar in the opening 30 seconds. Just over a minute later, the Campers had a flurry of chances with three corner kicks after the Miners blocked a pair of shots — the sequence ended when Allegany was whistled in the box for a foul.
The Miners slowly began to ease into the game before Barclay, a sophomore, opened the scoring with 9:06 to play in the opening half. The play started when Jacob Ritchie, one of the Miners’ three seniors, streaked down the right side and battled with a defender for the ball, winning the battle and delivering the ball to the far post, finding an unmarked Barclay who ripped it into the back of the net.
“It was really big for us,” Ritchie said of the goal.
The Miners were without two players due to close contact with COVID-19 infections, but that didn’t seem to faze the team on the field.
“It was kind of a shock how we had some players unable to be here,” Ritchie continued, “and I wasn’t sure how we were going to react to that; but once we got that goal and broke the seal, it seemed like everything just fell into place.”
Barclay doubled Mountain Ridge’s lead just over 15 minutes into the second half when we chased down a ball on the right flank. He slid to win the ball from a defender and touch it inside before sending the ball toward goal. The windy conditions appeared to play a factor, as the ball whipped in toward the goal and found the inside netting at the far post.
Evan Cook put the score at its final with 3:49 to play when he received a pass from Will Stark and curled a low shot in from about 30 yards out.
The Mountain Ridge defense showed its might, with Jarrett Pennington and Joey Oyer, the Miners’ other two seniors, playing a vital role in thwarting Allegany’s attacks and sending the ball into the midfield to spring counterattacks.
“We have some young guns back there,” said Oyer, “but they definitely stepped up and did what we need to do.”
“It’s great to know we have a good keeper behind us in Eathan,” added Pennington. “He’s always talking to us. I just think all three phases of the team showed up today and we got a good result.”
Both teams were even in shots on goal (5) and corner kicks (3), while the Campers held the advantage in shot attempts, 12-8. Ashenfelter stopped five shots in a shutout performance. Ryder Bernard made two saves, both coming in the final minute of the game, for Allegany.
“Real pleased for these the guys,” Nightengale said of his seniors. “They’ve been starting on the varsity team for three years now. They couldn’t end their senior year at home any better than by beating a good Allegany team 3-0. It’s all to these guys here. I talked to each one of them today and said they need to get their teammates together, and they did. I checked up with them while they were warming up and asked how they were doing, and every one of them said the team was good and ready to go. So that’s just a tribute to these three guys and their leadership on and off the field.”
The Miners and Campers will meet again on Monday at Greenway Avenue Stadium to close out the season.
Kyle Bennett is a sports reporter for the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @KyleBennettCTN.