CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The adjustments to a new coaching staff and changes to their learned style of play over the years officially have been made for the East Hamilton soccer Hurricanes.
There are still injuries to be recovered from, but early-season frustrations seem in the rearview mirror for now.
The Hurricanes never lost their lead Thursday night and held off 5-AAA regular-season champion Cleveland, 3-2, for their second consecutive district tournament championship since moving up from Class A/AA two seasons ago.
East Hamilton will host Stone Memorial, which lost 2-0 to Cookeville in the 6-AAA final, while Cleveland will travel to face the Cavs in the Region 3 semifinals Tuesday.
Jose Orellana scored East Hamilton's final goal and nearly had a second one Thursday on a rifled shot from about 35 yards away on the left wing in the second half.
"It took a while for us to adapt to the new coaching staff," he said. "Tonight feels real good, though; I don't know how to describe tonight. I'm just excited that we won."
The Hurricanes took a 1-0 lead on a Cleveland own goal in the fifth minute of the match, but the Blue Raiders tied the match in the 22nd minute on a goal by Kameron Dunn, assisted by Jonathan Collins. East Hamilton responded again, taking a 2-1 lead into halftime after a goal by Jordan Takrouri.
"Playing from behind is not a situation we're unfamiliar with," Cleveland coach John Brose said. "I thought we fought back and played well, but Jose is a great player and he gave us fits tonight. He controlled parts of the game."
Orellana's goal early in the second half put some distance between the sides, and despite Cleveland cutting the deficit in half on a goal by Graham Hammond and knocking on the door numerous times in the final minutes, the final flurry wasn't enough to produce a goal.
"We never felt comfortable (with the lead)," East Hamilton coach Patrick Daverson said. "Cleveland is a very well-organized team, and when you play them they keep coming at you; they keep coming forward.
"To hold them off was huge."
Daverson praised goalkeeper Taylor Vanzant, who made some huge saves when the Blue Raiders were pushing for the equalizer.
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