Two of state’s best battle for region

From Staff Reports
Posted 5/18/17

With a trio of consecutive 1-nil victories, Cleveland will face its toughest postseason match yet, in the Region 3-AAA title game.

A battle between the state’s third and fifth-ranked squads …

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Two of state’s best battle for region

Posted

With a trio of consecutive 1-nil victories, Cleveland will face its toughest postseason match yet, in the Region 3-AAA title game.

A battle between the state’s third and fifth-ranked squads looks to be a dogfight, with one combined loss between the two state hopefuls who will kick off at the Greater Cleveland Soccer Complex at 7 tonight.

The No. 3 Blue Raiders (19-0-2) will look to kick their offense into a higher gear after three straight 1-0 shutouts to begin the postseason.

Star scorers Tommy Marino and Jordan Lopez will look to break free and connect on strong passes. Julio Gallegos and Casey Beck will be looked to for strong feeds to jump-start one of five unbeaten teams left in the state.

Lopez enters the game just one goal away from tying the school record for scores in a single season. His first-half goal was the lone and decisive score for CHS in Tuesday’s victory over Warren County, and gives him 23 total this season.

Senior two-way standout Dillon Alexander will play tonight despite some confusion brought about by him being yellow carded twice in a recent game. He received two yellow cards and not a straight red card in the region semifinals, and will not have to sit out.

The No. 5 Cavaliers (18-1-2) enter with one of the state’s most dangerous offenses and have outscored their postseason competition 22-0 in three games.

Cookeville’s attack is led by Ryan Lombardo, who scored six times in the district tournament and pounded four goals in one game. Samuel Aranda, Darius Davis and Jake Funderburk are also threats to strike the back net.

Cleveland is 0-6-1 against its archnemesis, and fell 3-2 at Cookeville in double overtime last year in the region finals.

A victory for the Blue Raiders would pair them against either Blackman or Oakland, on Saturday.

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