The Cavaliers pushed the Raiders to the limit, and by the end of 80 minutes were able to hand the home team a 2-1 loss.
Despite the distance between Cookeville and Cleveland, these two schools are not strangers.
“Cookeville is real fast out front. They’ve got a good team and have won the region championship three years in a row,” Cleveland coach John Brose stated. “There seems to always be a really good match with Cookeville whether we are up there or they are down here.”
The teams battled furiously back and forth throughout the first half, with Cleveland being able hold off the Cavaliers’ charge and get a few chances of their own.
“They did a good job spreading our defenders out and using that speed to get in behind. They kind of dropped off of us and we were able to turn and possess the ball, getting some good shots from a distance,” Brose explained.
The second half started off much the same, and it wasn’t until the 61st minute that Cookeville’s Javier Calderon was able to get one past the Cleveland keeper.
Fifteen more minutes passed before the Cavaliers were able to strike again, with Evan Reiley finding the back of the net.
The Raiders answered, thanks to a goal off of a penalty kick by Brandon Romero.
“The second goal allowed really came from us pressing to get the equalizer and they caught us on the counter. I really liked the way that our guys never stopped fighting even when we were down 2-nothing,” Brose commented. “We got a goal on the penalty kick, which was well deserved, and then kept pressing from there and almost got a second one too. I thought we did a good job containing them for most of the game. You’re not going to go a whole 80 minutes without them getting a couple good opportunities and Zach Martin came up real big for us in goal.”
Martin faced a total of 10 shots on goal and blocked eight.
Cleveland, despite the one goal deficit, had 15 shots, nine of which were on frame. The Raiders also had seven corners.
“We just lacked that finishing touch tonight and sometimes that happens,” Brose stated. “Hopefully next time it will be the opposite way around.”
The Raiders will travel to Chattanooga to face CCS at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
CAVALIERS 2, RAIDERS 1
Halftime score: 0-0. Goals: Brandon Romero (CHS); Javier Calderon, Evan Reiley (Cville).Record: Cleveland 2-2-1.