RIPLEY - It was a brisk night in Death Valley that felt more suited for skiing than soccer. Through the mist that settled over Ripley High School, the boy's soccer team celebrated their seniors in first class fashion on Tuesday night.
Seniors Roberto Beto, Chuck Sleboda, Sammy Shaver, Cody Sanders, Alex Espino and Michael Bradley received a plaque with an action photo and an engraving bearing their name and number at half time.
The team hosted a talented AAA No. 7 ranked South Charleston Black Eagles squad. The Black Eagles are fresh off wins over No. 2 Parkersburg and No. 5 ranked Huntington. The orange and black wasted no time in getting on the board.
With barely five minutes into the first half, the Black Eagles squeezed a 15-footer past reliable goaltender Chuck Sleboda who made a diving stab at the ball.
Both teams exhibited tenacious defense though the opening half as South Charleston took a 2-0 lead into intermission.
Ripley took the field in the second half inspired and held the Black Eagles scoreless. Easton Berry scored for Ripley to make the final 2-1 in a game that the Vikings nearly pulled off the upset.
"The guys played hard and smart tonight. South Charleston is a very good team," said head coach Tim Ross. "I am proud of the accomplishments of each one of our seniors."
It has been a challenging season for the Viking coach and assistant Victor Boyce. Ripley has been plagued with injury after injury this season and have had to play many young players which bodes well for the future.
The Viking roster is loaded with underclassmen and the future looks bright for the program. Ripley travels to Charleston (Coonskin) to play Riverside in a sectional game on Monday. See a photo gallery of senior night at www.jacksonnewspapers.com