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FCA soccer matches honor late Abingdon star Kirk Nairn

TANNER COOK • Jun 13, 2019 at 9:54 PM

BRISTOL, Va. — A little bit of history was made on Thursday night at Sugar Hollow Park as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes put on the first senior challenge soccer matches for both high school boys and girls from all parts of Southwest Virginia.

The teams played in honor of Abingdon senior soccer player Kirk Nairn, who tragically died in a car accident the night before he was supposed to graduate.

The East and West teams were made up of players from more than 15 high schools and the deep talent pool really showed out.

In the girls match, the East team took home the win 2-1 with both goals coming from Carroll County’s Adrienne Harris, who was also named the Most Valuable Player for the East team.

The only West goal came from Abingdon’s Maria Thompson in the 23rd minute. The second half was full of shots, but all went wide or were saved as a result of solid defense.

Lee High goalie Emily Ledford — playing for the losing side — made 10 saves. Marion’s Gracie Billings was on the winning end in net and saved five shots.

John Battle’s Michaela Monk was named the West team’s MVP. Oddly enough, both Monk and Harris were also the MVPs of the FCA volleyball game.

The boys match got off to a sputtering start and had only one goal — by Andrew Goodman (Union) — in the first half as the West team led early. However, the offense got clicking in a hurry and the West team pulled away late to win 4-1.

Abingdon’s Bryton Vandyke — a close friend and teammate of Nairn — was named the West team’s MVP and scored two goals in the 41st and 45th minute.

“This mean a lot to me and my teammates here tonight,” he said. “I was very excited when I got the text message asking if I wanted to play in the game. (Kirk) made a huge impact on people’s lives, and playing on this field for my best friend is a great honor.”

Vandyke’s teammate Nick Fugate also got in on the action, scoring in the 37th minute right out of the half to give the West a two goal advantage.

Connor Vencill (Richlands) countered in the 39th minute to cut the deficit in half for the East team, but they could never get any closer.

Three different East goalkeepers were peppered with 24 shots and 12 of them on goal. The West practically spent three-fourths of the game inside the final third of the offensive end.

Vencill was named the MVP for the East team.