“Resilience and perseverance paid off for us tonight. We might not be the fastest team, but we are quick. We worked hard in the pre-season in the weight room and on conditioning, and you really see the effects of it on nights like tonight,” stated Cleveland head coach Andy Byrd.
Hosting a 9-3-1 East Hamilton team, the Lady Raiders found themselves down early but battled back to steal a big win in a big way.
When the final whistle sounded Freshman Samantha DeBien had notched a pair of come-from-behind goals to secure the 2-1 victory and move Cleveland back to .500 at 6-6-3.
The entire first half of play saw both sides battle, a bit unsuccessfully, for possession of the ball. A majority of first 40 minutes took place in the midfield where there was plenty of counter but very little attack.
East Hamilton nearly grabbed the momentum going into the half when a Hurricane striker put a well struck ball on frame. Raider keeper Jenna Scoggins saved the half with a leaping punch-save to push the ball just over the net and keep things scoreless.
She was forced to repeat the feat in the 50th minute as East Hamilton’s offense came out of the break with some fire. The great save and two solid defensive stops kept things even early, but it was easy to see where the energy on the pitch had shifted.
The Hurricane offense finally made landfall in the 57th minute when a shot from the 18-yard mark found the back of the Lady Raider net to give the visitors the 1-nil lead.
Despite being down Cleveland’s girls buckled down and weathered the storm, slowly battling back to equal possession and then gaining an upper hand in custody of the ball.
In the 66th minute DeBien struck from the top of the penalty area. The bullet of a shot was a no-doubter, easily coming to rest in the back of East Hamilton’s net to draw the score level at 1-all.
Five minutes later she repeated the feat when another ball squirted by a diving Hurricane keeper to put Cleveland up 2-1. That’s where the tally stood as the whistle sounded on the match, giving the Lady Raiders an important moral win with the post-season quickly approaching.
“With a young team like this things are going to take a while. Both teams didn’t put there best game on the field tonight, but the win helps us gain some confidence. This is a really good side we just played. Hats off to East Hamilton for coming up and helping us accomplish our goals of growing and getting better. Right now, the confidence thing is our big issue, so hopefully this win helps in that reguard,” explained Byrd.
“We had a great performance out of Samantha tonight. Jenna stepped up and made some huge saves. Alex Hutt did a great job of leading the crew in the backfield and being the major back there.”
Cleveland has a pair of matches left in the regular season. Tuesday night they host a 13-2-0 McMinn Central side. Thursday will be senior night as the team hosts Grace Baptist Academy (7-3-1) for their final regular season match.
Walker Valley grabs
a pair of wins
The Walker Valley Lady Mustangs grabbed an important pair of wins over this week, and will go for their third straight tonight as the team travels to Sweetwater High School.
Last night, Walker Valley handed Chattanooga Central a 6-nil defeat.
Kayla West and Kenzie Morris both notched a pair of goal apiece. Riley Kralik and Emily Fox also found the back of the net for a score.
The win was also the Lady Mustang’s second clean sheet of the week. Tuesday night the team also grabbed a 3-0 shutout of District 5-AAA rival Rhea County.
Kari Vincent started the scoring with a long range blast from 25 yards out. Later, D.J. Mowery slipped a ball across the box to Jacey Edwards, who was then able to fight off a defender and score WV’s second goal.
The third Lady Mustang goal came in the second half when Morris collided with the Lady Eagle keeper. The ball found its way to the feet of Jaclyn Griffith who calmly passed it into the empty net.
Bradley goes into
the Lion’s den
Bradley Central High School’s Bearettes were in action Tuesday night against the Red Bank Lady Lions. Bradley capped a perfect night in county soccer with an 8-1 win.
Haley Yarber came up big with the hat trick plus an extra goal and an assist. Alexia Hubbard had two goals and a pair of assists of her own, and Mikala Ard and Taylor Berger also scored in the victory. Monse Rincon also had two assists
“We gave away the goal away early in the first half on a counterattack, but it was a good wake up call for our girls,” explained Bradley head coach Tiffany Walker.
“The girls came out even stronger. Some of our younger players really stepped up tonight, and that is very encouraging.”
The win puts the Bearettes at 6-4-3 on the season going into their final two matches of the regular season. Tuesday Bradley will face off against Polk County’s Lady Wildcats at Bradley Central with a start time of 5 p.m.
Bradley will close out their regular season Thursday against the Chattanooga Patriots, also at home and at 5.