The East Hamilton Hurricanes walked away with a defensive 1-0 win over fellow Hamilton County school East Ridge at the Cleveland Classic Soccer Tournament on Saturday evening.
The Hurricanes have sparked a two-game win streak to bring their record back to .500 (2-2) following wins over the Pioneers and highly touted Knoxville Catholic Fighting Irish. With the win, East Hamilton ensures at least a tie for third place in the Cleveland Classic.
Against East Ridge, the Hurricanes hunkered down on defense. East Hamilton limited the Pioneers to four shots on goal throughout the 80-minute contest.
“Our defense has been really good for us,” said East Hamilton head coach Patrick Daverson. “They work really well together. They work together with what we are doing like if we are trying to get the ball forward. Their communication is getting better, but we still have some stuff to work on.”
Defense transitioned into offense for the Hurricanes. After 14 minutes of limited action up front, the offense started to rattle shots off on goal in bunches. Midfielder Maddux Seal led the attack with a multitude of beautiful crosses to his forwards, but the ball rolled everywhere but inside the net. In fact, East Hamilton teammate Dawson Bovell received a cross from Seal in the 43rd minute. Bovell was in position for a goal, standing inside the penalty area, but his shot ricocheted off the post and out.
By halftime, the Hurricanes outshot the Pioneers but could not replicate that on the scoreboard. The game stood at 0-0.
But East Hamilton carried that same energy into the second half. With a 45th minute free kick, the Hurricanes finally took advantage. East Hamilton’s Yahia Baniahmad attempted the free kick from outside the box and landed a pass to Seal. Seal’s header was rejected, but Baniahmad’s follow-up was not. By sending a grounded shot from 25 yards out, Baniahmad framed the shot to the opposite, bottom corner for the lone goal of the contest.
East Ridge would have one opportunity to create drama in the second half. After a bad touch by the aggressive Hurricane goalkeeper, Pioneer strikers were left with a golden opportunity to tie the game.
“If you saw it, the net was wide open,” said East Hamilton star defender Ethan Hixson. “When I saw it, I was freaked out. My first goal was to kick it anywhere, out, in general. I could not let them get a touch on the ball.”
The defensive play by Hixson helped secure the win for East Hamilton. The Pioneers are faced with troubles mounting up early in the season. East Ridge has been outscored 0-4 in three straight losses. They have an opportunity to reverse the trend against Signal Mountain on Tuesday, March 21.
The win wrapped up a successful weekend for the Hurricanes, and provides momentum as the Trojan Classic in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee approaches.
EAST RIDGE 0 0 — 0
EAST HAMILTON 0 1 — 1
Goal Scorer: East Hamilton (1): Yahia Baniahmad