ELIZABETHTOWN – East Bladen moved into sole possession of first place in the Three Rivers Conference Monday night with a 9-0 men’s soccer victory over Whiteville.
The Eagles blitzed the Wolfpack with 2 goals in the first minute of play. Junior Keshaun Davis sent a pass to senior Caleb Hatchell who found junior Greyson Heustess racing down the right side. Heustess buried the shot from 16 yards out.
Moments later senior Brooks McGill picked off a Whiteville pass and delivered a pass to Hatchell who knocked in the shot from 8 yards out.
In the 15th minute Hatchell converted a feed from Heustess and banged in the shot from 4 yards out for his second goal of the game and a 3-0 East lead.
Seventeen minutes later junior Pierce Melvin hurled a throw-in to junior B. J. Monroe who directed the ball to senior Jacob Barber. “Jacob tucked in a gorgeous shot from 8 yards out,” said Eagle Coach Jay Raynor.
Sophmore Jake Evans jumped the kick-off and earned a corner kick. Evans took the kick and found Pierce Melvin on the back post who finished the volley from 7 yards out for a 5-0 Eagle lead.
Nine minutes into the second half sophmore Gabe Barber won a ball and sent a pass to McGill who was sprinting down the middle. McGill dribbled the keeper and punched in the shot from 3 yards out.
Two minutes later Pierce Melvin found Hatchell who flicked the ball to McGill who rang up his second goal from 5 yards out to pad the lead to 7-0.
In the 61st minute Heustess dished a pass to Gabe Barber who scored from 5 yards out. Eleven minutes later junior Irvin Hernandez converted a pass from Hatchell into the game-ending goal.
“The boys played with a lot of energy tonight,” said Coach Raynor. “They were flying around making plays and making runs. It was fun to watch. Whiteville was physical, but we made play after play to keep the pressure on their backline.”
“I thought we moved the ball extremely well,” continued Raynor. “Our shape was much improved and that made our transitions more dynamic. Our backs and keeper limited Whiteville to only a few looks.”
“Our midfield controlled the game,” stated Raynor. “Gabe did a much better job of controlling things and making good decisions. He seemed to play calmer and did a great job of orchestrating our attack.”
Hatchell and McGill led the Eagles with 2 goals and 3 assists each. Heustess and Pierce Melvin finished with a goal and 2 assists each. Gabe Barber added a goal and an assist. Hernandez and Jacob Barber tallied one goal each. Davis, Evans and Monroe had one assist each.
“Caleb had a fantastic night. He has really been focused and adhered to his role,” noted Raynor. “Greyson and Brooks were their usual selves and really gave the backline a tough time. Keeping those two on the outside helps us pull back lines apart because you have to mark both of them.”
“Both Jacob and B. J. had tremendous games,” said Raynor. “B. J. seemed more relaxed and worked extremely hard defending but also contributed to the attack. Jacob works hard and is always making runs. Being someone who always puts everyone before himself it was good to see him score.”
“Tonight was big for us,” concluded Raynor. “We came out hungry and struck first. That changed the game.”
The Eagles improved to 4-0 in league play and 9-1 overall. East Bladen travels to Red Springs Wednesday and hosts St. Pauls in a make-up game Thursday.Share: