East Carter Raiders soccer is back in the saddle.
After back-to-back ties, the Raiders pulled out two tough wins Saturday in the King of the Mountains tournament at Rowan County.
“Felt good to get back on track. I thought we saw more of our game here today. The past two games, I didn’t think we were on top of our game. I thought we got away from what we do best and I kinda think that is what led to the ties. We had a practice yesterday and we really worked on getting back to what we started doing this season, a lot of passing, a lot of ins and outs and a lot of one-twos. It worked well,” said Coach Chris Huddle.
The Raiders made short work of the first game against South Laurel beating the Cardinals, 4-0.
Chase Burton and Doug Porter split the goals.
Burton connected for another header from a corner kick by Brian McDowell in the third minute to get the weekend rolling.
Porter scored two in the second half. His second was from 30 yards out.
The Raiders were feeling fatigued in the second game against Corbin County, but came out with a 2-1 win. Part of the fatigue could be from playing short. The Raiders had about a 15-player bench come the second game.
“We agreed to these two games today before the season started, before we knew that we would only have 18 players. About four subs, Ethan Miller had a strained muscle and had another player in the first game break a collar bone. We were kinda short-handed and tired,” said Huddle.
Despite the fatigue, the Raiders got off to another hot start.
Hunter McMillen netted one in the first minute and Ethan Miller tallied a second to give the Raiders a much needed 2-0 head start in the first ten minutes of play.
“Looking back on it, it is a good thing we did. Our legs were gone in the second half. We were lucky we were able to come out and get that quick start on offense. If we hadn’t done that it could have been a long night on us,” said Huddle.
The remainder of the game was a grind. The defense was really put to the test as the Raiders fought injury and fatigue to come out with a win.
“I think that is how good our defense is. Honestly, these guys are very good at what they do. Even though we were tired and exhausted, I thought they hung tough and did well,” said Huddle.
Trevor Cline, protected by a strong defensive unit, has had it easy most games this season. Saturday, that was not the case. Cline had to make 10 saves in the second game against Corbin.
If it wasn’t for a penalty kick in the 73rd minute, the Raiders would have shut out Corbin.
“It was a good call. Chase got the ball, but he got a little bit too much of the body there down the stretch,” said Huddle about the call.
The Raiders host Mason County Thursday at 7 p.m.