The Clayton-Bradley High School Boys Soccer team had a different set up for Tuesday night's match against Paideia. Due to Blount United Soccer Club's field availability, the match did not get to start until around 7:20. Also, due to low numbers for Paideia, they decided to play 7 on 7, instead of the normal 11 on 11. These componets were good and bad. The good: It was not as hot and there was more space for offensive movement. The bad: It almost got dark towards the end, the players had more ground to cover, so being tired came about more quickly and the defense had to stay that much more locked in.
It was a tight match the whole way. Both teams had multiple shots on goal, but could not connect. They were either missing or the Keepers made great saves. CBA's Keeper Luke Mancuso had some of the best saves of the season on this night. Two in particular stand out: One where Mancuso reached out and deflected the shot with one hand and the other where he had to dive and catch the attempt. As the match got closer and closer to the end, in a 0-0 tie, and the players being more exhausted due to more running, you could tell that each team just wanted to score one goal to finish the night.
The Blazers had the advantage on this night, due to having more subs available for their team. This kept CBA more fresh than The Knights and in the end proved to be the difference. This was shown in the possession of the ball being dominated in the second half by the home team. In the final minute, as the sun was setting, Aiz Dhanani was undercut and the ref gave Paideia a penalty and a card. So, Junior Luke Hutchinson took the opportunity to kick from about midfield. The Captain put all of his leg into it and booted it high and toward the goal. You could feel everyone leaning and hear people yelling thinking it could have a chance. Just as the ball reached the goal it dropped right below the crossbar and over the Keepers outstretched hands and into the net. 1-0 Clayton-Bradley!
There was jubilent celebrating all over and around the field. CBA had the momentum now. Everyone could feel their energy being boosted. All they had to do was make a stop on the other end and get the win just a few seconds later. They did just that. The win is the third on the season and gives the team their second shutout of the year as well. It was a great way to finish the Home part of the schedule.
CBA travels across town to face Maryville Christian on Friday night at 6pm.