CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misidentified Cadyn Huddleston as Sawyer Burns and Josh Pickett as Chan Aung.
There was a sigh of relief around the visitors' bench Thursday at Signal Mountain following the closing seconds of a nondistrict soccer game between Cleveland and the Eagles.
The Blue Raiders escaped with a 2-1 win after the Eagles' penalty kick in the final minute hit the left post and bounced back into the field of play.
"Overall I thought we played well," Cleveland coach John Brose said. "I thought we possessed the ball well, created a lot of opportunities and the keeper had some good saves. They had some bigger kids that kept us at bay a little bit, but we'll take a win any way we can."
Cleveland (13-0-1) found its rhythm early and had the only score of the first half. Jordan Lopez bent a shot past the keeper and into the net with his left foot.
The Blue Raiders continued to show strong chemistry, and Lopez added his second goal of the game at the 46-minute mark, finishing on a pass from Tommy Marino to make it 2-0.
But the Eagles found the back of the net at the 65:49 mark. Aaron Easterly's early cross into the box went to John Lamsey, who chipped a shot over the keeper the cut the deficit in half.
Signal Mountain (4-5-1) had one last chance after Cleveland fouled Easterly in the box following a deep lobbed through ball. That set up Cadyn Huddleston to even the game, but his shot ricocheted off the post to keep the Blue Raiders' undefeated status alive.
"We were down a few starters there, so I think the first 15 minutes we were trying to sort some new guys in new positions," Brose said. "I think once we settled into the game in the first half we played really well and we really controlled the tempo of the game, which carried over in the second half. They got one back on us that they probably shouldn't have, but it was a physical came and a good game to prepare us for the postseason coming up."
Cleveland outshot Signal Mountain 10-7, with eight of the Raiders' shots being on target. Marino led the team in shots.
Huddleston led Signal Mountain with three shots, and Josh Pickett recorded six saves.
"We don't have a lot of big guys, so we had to keep the ball on the ground and pass the ball well," Signal Mountain coach Richard Northcutt said. "There just isn't kicking the ball forward and praying for us, so I think we were able to play an even game, at least in the second half. But we have to be able to pass to our team and control the ball well. It's something we have to do if we want to win."
Contact Anthony Sigismond at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story was updated April 25 at 8:35 p.m.