FAIRLEA, WV- One year after capturing the school’s first ever state championship, the Greenbrier East men’s soccer team went down in sectional tournament play in 2023 to Princeton in a hard fought 2-1 battle that concluded their season.
East finished 9-7-3 and had some highs and lows as any typical team does, but they never let the lows bring them down. They fought hard every game and made their fans proud. Speaking of the fans, their support to the program was/is simply amazing. The bleachers were filled almost every match, and the Spartans soccer field and facility is one of the best in the state of West Virginia.
The Spartans biggest win was arguably over the Parkersburg Big Reds 2-1. Parkersburg finished the season with a record of 17-4.
Ian Gadd led East in scoring this year with 16 goals and four assists. The Nicholas County transfer and 2nd team all-state selection filled in admirably in his role with the team. Noah Edwards scored seven goals on the season and had four assists. John Withrow and Dylan Depriest-Thompson each scored five goals and Jason Grim, Yeison Estrada, Andrew Holt, and Nixon Brown contributed three goals. Dawson Trusty, Carter Toliver, and August Vincent each had two goals with Peter Furlong, Jose Nunez and Parker Hill getting one apiece.
For his efforts on the field, Furlong was named first team all-state after a stellar campaign. Gadd and Joe Cochran (33 goals allowed, 76 saves) earned spots on the second team. Brown and Vincent were named second team all-region.
Although the Spartans did not get a chance to defend their title, head coach Lucas Lemine had just as great a time coaching this year’s group as he always does.
“This year’s team, like any other, is always a joy,” Lemine said.
“Up and downs are always a part of the game no matter the success of the group. There are always outside things that rain on any parade. I took advantage of my time with the group and I’m extremely proud of them regardless of outcomes,” he added.
With 2023 in the rearview mirror, Lemine sees big things ahead next season and in the future in general.
“Looking ahead, we are going to continue to do the same things we always do. Encourage kids to play club and if they can’t, we will offer opportunities for them to train locally during the off season. Our section is loaded again. Princeton and Oak Hill had a couple of years down and that’s no longer the case. Both programs have excellent coaches. I’ll argue that we have the strongest section in the state and the three other coaches in our section are also three of the best in the state. Then you look at our region, 14 out of 36 state champions come from region 3,” Lemine explained.
However, even with the section being so strong, the coach does not think it will hinder the Spartans chances to win it, but he hopes it will continue to help elevate them to another level.
“We lose some excellent seniors, but I feel we as a staff did a great job of playing everyone who was on varsity and giving them meaningful minutes, so they have real experience. We aren’t going to change our way of playing because we train and play the game the way it’s intended to be played. We will focus on our ability to possess the ball. We need to improve both offensively with scoring and creating chances but also defending and not giving teams clean looks on our goal,” Lemine stated.
“Cliché, but you have to score and not allow your opponent to score. The guys are already excited about next season. They will be ready and willing to work this off season. The coaching staff is excited about the players that will be coming back next year and getting a look at the next generation of Middle School players coming into the program,” Lemine concluded.
The Spartans will be back on the pitch in the fall of 2024.
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