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Prep soccer: Capital beats Nitro, 4-2

By Nick Brockman

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Capital junior Keenan Barbazette scored twice to pace the Cougars offense, while the squad's defense matched the effort in a 4-2 victory at Nitro Tuesday night.

Barbazette scored once in the closing minutes of the first half and again to open the second half as the Capital defense, led by sophomore goalkeeper Kevin Jones, stymied the Nitro offense.

"We kept talking, we played to our feet and we played off of their mistakes and it worked out to our advantage," Barbazette said.

With goals from three different players and assists from three others, Capital Coach Bradford Clark said communication was key in victory.

"They were taking advantage of opportunities and I really liked they were playing together as a team, they were communicating out there," he said. "They were keeping their heads up and being positive toward one another, just trying to work as a team."

Sophomore Tristan Slater opened the game's scoring when he netted a goal with assist from Zac Koontz 10 minutes into the first half.

The Cougars looked to take a 1-0 lead into halftime until Barbazette scored with assist from Kellen Paybins four minutes before the break. Two minutes into the second half, Barbazette scored again with assist from Paybins.

"Keenan is so vocal on the field and he is a great player," Clark said. "He works well with his teammates, but it's just the communication. I think Kellen, both times, saw Keenan making that run and two times (played) a really pretty ball in and nice finish on both on them. I was impressed."

With a 3-0 advantage in hand, sophomore Tyler Shaffer provided some more comfort when he scored with 11:30 remaining in the game as Kevin Roy provided the assist.

Defensively, Jones posted five saves, including several diving stops. Jones nearly recorded his second shutout of the season, but two goals in the game's final five minutes thwarted those thoughts.

"We kept the ball on the ground and just worked together as a team," Clark said of the Cougars defense. "I was just really happy that we played together, just communicating more. Near the end, there was just a little less talking. We were just trying to get everyone out there and get them some experience. It was just little things we can practice on and get better at."

For Nitro (2-5), the team avoided its third shutout of the season when senior J.P. Mawyer scored twice in the final five minutes, with assist from Alec Bailey on the first goal.

"It was nice to get a couple goals at the end," Wildcats Coach Brian Young said. "Unfortunately, we would like to get that effort for the whole 80 minutes. When we woke up and started playing, we started playing a little better."

With the win, Capital enhanced its record to 3-4, and Clark said the Cougars will continue to work to improve.

"I feel like we can get better," he said. "I don't think that we've reached our pinnacle. The guys are constantly working hard in practice. They're trying to get better. They're trying to do all the small things right so the big things can happen."

Capital will return to action to visit Huntington 7:30 p.m. Thursday, while Nitro will play host to Parkersburg 6 p.m. Thursday.



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