The East Hamilton soccer team got progressively better Saturday evening in its District 6-A/AA match against East Ridge, which was good for coach John Millard only because it garnered the desire result.
There was still room for improvement.
Jonah Goddard scored twice and the ninth-ranked Hurricanes shook off a slow start to defeat the Pioneers 2-1 at Camp Jordan.
A week layoff between matches and playing against a very good East Ridge team wasn't a good combination. The Pioneers (7-1-1, 3-1) jumped to a one-goal advantage early when Kolbe King rebounded a Tad Whitaker miss and fired a shot low and past Hurricanes keeper Fielder Dennis.
East Hamilton (7-1-2, 1-0) was able to even the match on a set piece, when Goddard went up and headed in an Alex McCarney chip.
The Hurricanes took the lead in the 68th minute, when Kyle Gallups crossed the ball into Goddard, who was able to get a foot on the ball and slide it into the goal.
"It was encouraging to come back and get that result, especially since we didn't play well in the first half and not much better in the second," Millard said. "I thought we had our best stuff in the 10-15 minutes after we went ahead.
"It's tough to walk into a game against a good East Ridge team after a seven-day break. They're hard to break down and get the chances we wanted."
Pioneers coach Jeremy McIntyre said before the game that he thought a key would be an early lead -- a common thread to their early-season success. They were able to do that but unable to hold on in suffering their first loss of the season.
"It was a tough game," he said. "We played well and had some opportunities, and I thought we handled their style well.
"The guys are disappointed about their first loss, but I thought it was a good, solid battle."
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.