ELIZABETHTOWN – Sophmore Gabe Barber recorded a “Hat Trick’ of 3 goals, and sophmore Jake Evans contributed 3 assists to lead East Bladen to a 7-0 victory over St. Pauls Thursday night in Three Rivers Conference men’s soccer action.
Senior Brooks McGill stole a pass and opened the East Bladen scoring with a goal in the seventh minute. Eight minutes later McGill found senior Caleb Hatchell who directed a pass to Gabe Barber who banged in the goal for a 2-0 lead.
In the 28th minute, junior Greyson Heustess sent a cross to Gabe Barber who finished into the net from 5 yards out. East Bladen led 3-0 at halftime.
In the 40th minute Evans sent a cross to Gabe Barber who blasted in his third goal of the night from 18 yards out. On a corner kick in the 53rd minute, Suggs directed the ball to junior Irvin Hernandez who drilled a low hard shot from 20 yards out past the keeper to pad the margin to 5-0.
Evans pounced on the rebound of a Hernandez shot and rammed it into the net in the 59th minute. Fifteen minutes later Evans boomed a corner kick to Hatchell who ripped a hard ground shot into the net from 16 yards out.
“It was a good game for us,” said East Bladen Coach Jay Raynor. “Our third game of the week and the guys pushed through it. They moved and passed the ball very well and slowed the game down while staying in control.”
Raynor noted, “They didn’t hang their heads or quit despite a few injuries, tired legs and playing a man down for close to 65 minutes. We played at a high level even though the pace was slower than usual. It had to be.
The Eagles scored 5 of their 7 goals after going a man down and only allowed one shot in the match.
“Jake was running on fumes but was all over the place making play after play,” said Raynor. “Gabe was hurting after a bad knock in last night’s game but played through it and scored 3 goals. Proud of him.”
Raynor continued, “Our backs did a great job and played at a different level. Keshaun (Davis), Dan (Tatum) and Ezequiel (Arteaga) did a great job of not allowing counterattacks and shielding Spencer (Scott). Dan has hit a different level the last 2 games and made some really impressive plays.”
“Greyson, Caleb and Irvin did well picking when and when not to attack,” added Raynor. “Usually we are flying up the lines and going to goal, but the hold-up play was what helped us out. The guys won us right many corner kicks in the second half.”
“Jacob (Barber), B. J. (Monroe) and Garrett (Melvin) had to play more minutes tonight and made the most of them,” said Raynor. “They played numerous positions and did so without any hiccups.”
“The guys faced some adversity tonight, but completely dominated a team that was very solid and much fresher,” concluded Coach Raynor. “The man advantage could have added to it but didn’t. My guys are tough and I am very proud of them.”
The Eagles travel to county rival West Bladen Monday at 6 p.m.