“Tonight’s not about me. It’s about us. This was a good win for us, and we’ll celebrate things when the time comes. But, let’s focus on 101, 102, 103 ... and finish the rest of this season stong,” Byrd expressed to the postgame huddle.
In what has become their MO, the Lady Raiders put on a gutsy performance that wasn’t the most appealing to the eye, but in the end got the job done.
Sophomore keeper Jenna Scoggins made her presence felt in the 19th minute when she made a leaping save to end a McMinn Central rally. It was one of her four saves on the night and moves her to 134 saves on the season, a save percentage of 86.
Junior Lorne Conn almost broke things open in the 26th minute when she launched a well-struck ball from distance that cleared the top of the goal by inches.
In the 32nd minute, the Lady Raider dynamic duo of Sohara Perez and Samantha DeBien struck again.
Perez found DeBien’s feet in the penalty area. Juking a diving keeper, DeBien laid an easy ball into the back of the net to give Cleveland the 1-nil lead.
It was the Lady Raider defense who came up big in the closing minutes of the half. McMinn Central took back-to-back-to-back corners that were all deflected and then eventually cleared by Cleveland’s defense to end the threat.
Both teams battled back and forth in the second half, and the Chargerettes showed why they carried at 13-2 record into in the match. Yet, in the end, the single goal is all it took as the Lady Raider sideline erupted at the sound of the ending whistle.
The win moves Cleveland back over .500 on the season with a mark of 7-6-3 and gives the squad some much-needed momentum with the quickly approaching postseason.
“We’re already focused on that next match 48 hours from now. We had a good side tonight. Some people off the bench got big for us. Melanie Siler and Joshalyn Brown came off the bench and gave us some really quality minutes,” said Byrd.
“For the first 20 minutes we had some trouble getting things done, and then those subs really helped spark some of our starters. Sohara did some really creative things tonight working with Sam. Hope was just crushing people up front. Callie Baker and Lorne were controlling things in the middle of the field, and Alex Hutt just continues to be such a solid presence in the backfield.”
Grace Baptist will come to call Thursday for the Lady Raiders’ last regular-season match. It will also be Senior Night for the team.