“We had eight seniors that were recognized who all have put a lot of hard work and effort in these last four years. They have been very successful and an instrumental part of the success we have had the last few years. We wanted to thank them for all the hard work they and their families have put into the soccer program. It was a special night for that,” said Cleveland coach John Brose. “Obviously, we wish we could have gotten the win to kind of win one for them. But they have definitely put in a lot of hard work and effort. They have done a lot and have been real successful. It is a good group of kids.”
The Raiders (7-7-3, 6-0 district 5-AAA) scored early and held a 1-0 lead the rest of the half. Brose said Cleveland had opportunities to put more numbers on the board but did not finish.“It was a pretty even match throughout,” said Brose. “We didn’t play our best soccer tonight I don’t think. We did good things in spurts, we just weren’t consistent throughout the game.
Garrett Koon touched a pass to Ethan Pruitt who found Wes Llosa with a through ball. The senior forward finished the play with a shot past the Lenior keeper to put the Raiders up 1-0 in the 11th minute.“It was a good little build up and something we were actually hoping to see more of throughout the night. It was a real nice goal. We were hoping to see a little bit more of that. Sometimes we force the issue a little bit.”The lead held until the 52nd minute when the Panthers made good on a penalty kick to tie the game 1-1.
“Sometimes you have to overcome more than what is going on, on the field. We had a lot of other things going on there at the end but I think we kept our head pretty well when we could have lost it,” Brose explained. “We definitely had some opportunities to put the game away. Either we didn’t take advantage of them or their keeper came through for them.”
The coach said he hopes the tough schedule will pay off when it really counts. The Raiders will turn their attention to preparing for next week’s district tournament with a clean slate.“We played a quality opponent in a close game. I just hope we can learn from it and apply it to our postseason. We wipe the slate clean and we have a brand new season that starts next week,” he said. “We get a bye in the first round of the district tournament and will play the winner of Soddy-Daisy and Bradley who are playing Friday,” said Brose looking ahead. “The reason we schedule tough opponents and do the things we do throughout the year is to build and learn from everything that has taken place so we can hopefully a run.”