Coming off of a season opening 4-3 loss at Cookeville Tuesday night, the Lady Raiders’ offense showed up almost instantly, resulting in their 4-0 victory over the Lady Seahawks.
Junior and 2012 team scoring leader Sam DeBien got Cleveland on the board 58 seconds into the match.
Five minutes later, senior Kendall Hamilton, with an assist from Sohara Perez, gave the Lady Raiders a two-goal lead over a young Silverdale team.
“Silverdale came in with a young squad because they’ve had some injuries, but they put up a good fight,” Cleveland head coach Andy Byrd said. “We started getting on the boards early —we scored in the first minute then we scored another quick one a few minutes later. Overall it was some good soccer.”
Nearly eight minutes after her first goal, DeBien got another one past the Lady Seahawk keeper.
Senior McKenzie Harris made it a 4-0 game halfway through the first half and the remainder of the game was rooted in strong defensive play by both sides.
Coach Byrd’s younger players were able to see some action on the pitch for a little over half the game.
“I was trying to get them a good look because I know that we’ll be going up against some opponents where I’ll be using my varsity a lot more,” Byrd commented.
One thing is evident very early in the season: Cleveland’s offense is looking to be quite a strong presence on the pitch.
“We had Sam DeBien score two goals and McKenzie and Kendall each scored one. We’ve spread the scoring out so far this year,” Bryd said. “In two games we’ve had three different people score in each game. That’s a trend we want to build on. Everything looked good.”
The Lady Raiders will be back in action next Monday as they host CCS. The JV will play at 5 p.m. and the varsity game begins at 7 p.m.
Bradley Central 3,
East Ridge 1
Cleveland wasn’t the only team that saw success on Thursday, as Bradley Central was able to overcome a difficult East Ridge team 3-1.
Due to Wednesday’s rain, the game had been moved from Camp Jordan in East Ridge to Bradley. The weather reared its ugly head once again, leaving both teams with only five minutes to warm up.
“All of this led to us being a little sluggish in the beginning and East Ridge got the best of us with an early goal,” Bearettes head coach Chrissy McKinney explained. “We finally came alive and got our defense going and kept them from scoring the rest of the game.”
Junior Caley Jones was able to even up the score with nine minutes left in the first half.
The shift in momentum carried on into the second half, as sophomore Haley Yarber scored from 45 yards out on a free kick.
Jones was able to give Bradley a two-goal lead following her second goal of the evening, which came from a free kick as well.
“This was a very physical game. East Ridge did not give us time to see as many passes as we saw on Tuesday. Two of our goals were results of free kicks, which shows you that there were a lot of fouls going around,” McKinney said.
The JV game ended in a tie, with Astrid Pineda getting the lone goal for Bradley.
The Bearettes have gotten their season started out on a positive note and coach McKinney is pleased with the progress she has seen from her team.
“Overall I am pleased with what I saw from the defense later in the game. We focused on a few points (Wednesday) in practice and it really seemed to bring them together,” McKinney commented. “We just continue to work and grow and learn from every experience.”
Bradley Central will be on the road Tuesday as it takes on Grace Baptist at 6 p.m.
LADY RAIDERS 4, LADY SEAHAWKS 0
Halftime score: 4-0. Goals: Sam DeBien 2, Kendal Hamilton, McKenzie Harris. Assists: Sohara Perez. Record: Cleveland 1-1.
BEARETTES 3, LADY PIONEERS 1
Halftime score: 1-1. Goals: Caley Jones 2, Haley Yarber. Record: Bradley Central 2-0.