ELIZABETHTOWN – Sophomore Tevin McClean fired in a ‘Hat Trick’ of 3 goals in the 1st half as East Bladen raced to a 3-0 lead and eventual 4-1 Waccamaw Conference victory over East Columbus Monday night.
McClean struck quickly with 2 goals in the 1st 4 minutes twice beating the Gator keeper in one-on-one situations. The 1st goal came off of a pass from freshman Jayce Hatcher and the 2nd was the result of an assist from senior Jamie Delgado.
“Chace (Butler), Tevin, and Zac (Metz) did work for us up top,” said Eagle Coach Jay Raynor. “Both Zac and Chace provided movement and passes that helped open the game up for Tevin and our midfielders getting forward.”
McClean completed his ‘Hat Trick’ in the 37th minute off an assist from junior Gabril Algozy smacking a low hard finish past the keeper.
“We came out aggressive and playing the best soccer this group has played and some of the best soccer an East Bladen team has played,” stated Raynor. “We were controlling the game, moving on and off the ball, making great decisions and keeping East Columbus out of the game.”
The Eagles outshot the Gators 25-0 in the opening half and 36-3 for the game. “It was a tremendous improvement and showed what we are capable of being,” noted Raynor. “We forced their keeper to make a few impressive saves.”
Raynor continued, “Jamie, Damian (Alonzo-Sanchez), and JD (McArthur) dominated the midfield. They dictated the tempo of the match in the first half. We played fast but not rushed. We moved the ball inside and outside as well as getting back up the field with overlapping runs.”
“Colin (King), Marco (Ventura), Andrew (Musslewhite), and Ronnie (Covington) played significant roles in the flanks tonight and joining in the attack,” said Raynor. “Fernando (Rebollar) and Lee (Barnes) did tremendous jobs for us in net tonight. Those two guys help us tremendously with such a young group in the back.”
Raynor added, “Jayce (Hatcher) and Debo (Davion Lewis) were impressive tonight for us in the back. We put them in some bad situations, but they came out on the good side of a majority of those. That’s what we need out of our center backs, that calm demeanor and ability to make some athletic plays if they have to.”
East Columbus scored in the 2nd half. “We were pressured in the back and sent a ball across our goal to their forward who was in an offside position and he scored it,” stated Raynor. “Even though he was offside, it was a deliberate back pass and was a legal play because of that.”
Delgado drew a penalty minutes later, and Rebollar nailed the penalty kick to push the Eagle lead to 4-1.
“We aren’t the East Bladen of previous years that could score at will,” noted Raynor. “Teams know we are young and they are finding the chinks in our armor. We need to be more cognizant of that and know we are going to be in dog fights for the duration of the match.”
Raynor concluded, “This group will be successful. We are ahead of where we should be right now. That’s impressive.”
The Eagles improved to 2-0 in conference play and 4-3 overall. East Bladen will travel to Pender Wednesday night.