Braves bounce back with win after Simon Kenton loss

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Finding positives in a scoreless defeat is never easy.
But Grant County boys’ soccer coach Garrett Griffith found plenty to be happy about both during and after his team’s first loss of the season.

Not only was Griffith proud of his team’s effort in the 3-0 defeat on the road at district-rival Simon Kenton on Tuesday, the first-year Braves’ head coach was especially pleased with the way his team bounced back with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over visiting Frankfort just four days later.

“It was real nice to see how the guys responded after the tough loss. They came back strong and played hard. I was very happy about that,” said Griffith.

“Our goal against Simon Kenton was to play as hard as we could for the full 80 minutes, and the guys did that,” continued the Grant County coach. “We knew going in that Simon Kenton was tops in the district. We expected, and hoped, to score some goals on them. But overall it was exactly the kind of game we expected. We had chances, we just didn’t finish when we had the opportunities.”

While his team was shut out against Simon Kenton, the Braves were too determined to let it happen again when Frankfort visited Dry Ridge on Saturday. In that game, Grant County took the early lead on a goal by freshman forward Nathan Yeager in the first half and then relied on junior goalkeeper Jordan Kearns to protect it.
Kearns obliged, turning in his third shutout of the season. He has allowed less than one goal per game on average over the course of the season, an impressive fact that does not do justice for the way he has played, said Griffith.

“Jordan played really well against Frankfort. He had two or three big, tough saves for us,” Griffith said. “Jordan has really been playing great recently. He’s kept us in a lot of games and you can see his confidence building.”

Matthew Barnett continued his impressive play with an assist on Yaeger’s goal.

With the loss to Simon Kenton, Grant County falls from the ranks of the unbeaten, leaving Collins High School as the only undefeated team in Region 8. But the Braves still rank among the region’s best in every category, including wins (four),  goals (2.4 per game), and fewest goals allowed (one per game).

Grant County (4-1-1) is on the road for the next two weeks with trips to Dixie Heights, Carroll County, Henry County and Owen County on the agenda.

“Road games are always tough, but luckily we don’t have to travel that far. And that’s a plus,” said Griffith, whose team returns home on Sept. 21 to host the Dry Ridge Toyota Invitational at Grant County.