The Cleveland Lady Raider soccer squad finished out the District 5-AAA tournament with a second place finish, suffering defeat at the hands of Soddy-Daisy Thursday night.
Soddy played host to the championship game, and a tired and bruised Cleveland squad could not do much to stop the powerhouse soccer program.
Led by a pair of hat-tricks, a penalty kick and an unassisted goal the Lady Trojans soundly defeated Cleveland by a final score of 8-nil.
“We lost our goal keeper early on and our sweeper shortly after that. Some freshmen came up and played well for us, but the girls are emotionally tired and banged up,” stated Cleveland head coach Andy Byrd.
The Lady Raiders were coming off of a tough fought semi-final match against McMinn County that took two nights to wrap up. The wear and fatigue from the lengthy campaign certainly played a part in Thursday’s lop-sided defeat.
“We are going to take this experience, learn from it and move on. Ultimately, coming here to Soddy and taking a shot in the mouth like this will make us a better team,” Byrd expressed.
Despite the one-sided nature of the game Byrd saw several positive points, not the least of which is a second place finish in the district tournament.
“Second place is not a bad finish. Hats off to our seniors who didn’t give up and came out in the second half and played hard. The first half got rough, but we played a pretty solid second half,” explained Byrd.
“We didn’t quit. We played with a lot of heart. I think the final score isn’t reflective of our effort here tonight,” he elaborated.
The Lady Raiders will need to put last night’s loss behind them and get health as their second place finish guarantees them a place in the Regional 3-AAA tournament.
Cleveland will need to travel to Cookville Tuesday night for the tournament’s first round.
The Lady Cavilers carry a season record of 16-4 and are coming off a first place finish in their 6-AAA tournament.
Byrd expects his injured starting goal keeper, freshmen Jenna Scoggins, back for the tournament’s start.
Starting sweeper Leanne Indovino was taken to the hospital following her knee injury Thursday night, and Byrd is unsure of her status for the game in Cookville.
Local girls soccer players recognized at the conclusion of the District 5-AAA Tournament: First Team — Jamiee Moreland (Walker Valley), Alexia Hubbard (Bradley Central), Hannah Ellis (Cleveland) and Kaitlyn Poulakis (Cleveland). Second Team — Kezie Morris (Walker Valley), Caley Jones (Bradley Central) and Megan Barker (Cleveland).