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CARY – Western Guilford built a 5-1 halftime lead and held on for a 7-5 victory over East Bladen Saturday in the North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association Kickoff Classic for boys soccer teams at Wake Med Soccer Park.

Senior Malcolm Bolden scored 6 minutes into the game to give the Eagles the early 1-0 lead. “Malcolm had another 1-on-1 with their goal keeper just a few minutes later, and the shot went just wide,” said Eagle Coach Jay Raynor. “We looked polished at times and did some great things. For the first 10 minutes we dominated the game and the ball.”

The Hornets fought back and scored the next 5 goals. “We had a rough 10-12 minutes midway through the first half,” stated Raynor. “The weather was a factor for sure but both teams had to play in it. We hit a wall prior to the first water break. We gave up some bad goals and defended poorly during a stretch that cost us.

“We regrouped at halftime and made a system change and personnel change,” noted Raynor. “We moved Erik (Hidalgo) up top and adjusted some movements on the interior of our midfield which changed the game.”

The Eagles stormed back in the 2nd half as Bolden fired in 2 more goals to record his 2nd “Hat Trick” of 3 goals in 3 days. Hidalgo, a senior, and junior Jamie Delgado added 1 goal each. Both Delgado and sophomore Gabril Algozy dished out 2 assists each.

“Erik scored a great header off a set piece to give us another burst of energy. Jamie converted our 2nd penalty kick,” said Raynor. “Our guys could’ve held their heads and give up but they didn’t. We came out and cut the deficit to 3-5 before giving up another poor goal. We were right there and had the momentum. We poured it on and created free kicks, corners, shots, and PKs. We converted 1 of our 2 PKs to pull the game to within one goal before giving up a PK on our end.”

East Bladen outshot Western Guilford 13-8 in the 1st half and 27-12 for the game.

“I would have never guessed that many goals would have been scored by either of the teams today,” continued Raynor. “There was a lot of good defending but also some great scoring.”

Raynor added, “Proud of our effort and pushing through. There’s no quit in our guys. We just need to work a little more during periods of the game. We seem to watch rather than be a part of the game. If you score 4 goals in a half, it should be good enough for a result. I’m encouraged with our improvement and effort.”

East Bladen, now 1-3, will host North Brunswick Monday at 5:30.

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