FAIRMONT, W.Va. – On Saturday the Fairmont Senior boys soccer team won its first contest of the season, 4-3 over Oak Hill.
The Polar Bears look to be a top team in Class-AA again. They enter this season with a target on their back as the two-time defending state champs and every team is trying to take them down.
Polar Bears head coach Darrin Paul said his team embraces the pressure.
“Especially this senior class and the captains. They welcome the challenge. They know what their goal is, probably every team in the state’s goal. For us, that’s just where we’re going to be. We’re going to work hard to get there, we’re not going to be complacent. We know that last year was last year and this year we’re going forward to win another state title,” Paul said.
The goal for the Polar Bears is clear. The team brings back plenty of strength from last year’s team. First Team All-State attacking midfielder Bubby Towns is a highlight. Towns enters his final season with the Polar Bears.
“We just need to continue to work hard and keep a standard throughout the whole season,” Towns said.
The strength of the team is in the midfield. Second Team All-State outside midfielder Nate Flower returns as well as Kaelen Armstrong and Denzel Duvert to name a few. With multiple players who can put the ball in the back of the net, including senior forward Ashton Cecil who did so twice on Saturday against Oak Hill, the Polar Bears’ focus is on the possession leading up to scoring.
“We want to possess more. If we keep possession and we work it out of the back to our midfielders, I’ve been really emphasizing to get it out of the back, get it to the playmakers feet and let them create,” Paul said.
The defense, who lost a few key players to graduation, is a work in progress. Senior Carson Mundell leads from the center and multi-position player, junior Ro Jones moved back to help strengthen the defense.
“I realized eventually we were going to have to start moving people around and transitioning the team and keeping a strong defense because that’s been the goal since my freshman year, maintain a strong defense,” Jones said.
Mundell is confident in the defense’s ability to gel quickly.
“There are definitely some gaps but I feel like we have definitely built back almost as strong as we were last year. I feel like we have a lot of potential back there , we have chemistry and it’s good,” Mundell said.
The Polar Bears started the season on a high note with a win already in the column. Fairmont Senior sees Frankfort in its next game on August 28.