In the Lady Raiders' matchup against Collins Hill, the Lady Eagles defeated HCHS with a 9-0 shutout by scoring seven goals in the second half.
"I think our team played a great first half," said Head Coach Melissa Carroll. "We were able to equally possess the ball and shut down many of their attacks."
The Lady Eagles scored less than 10 minutes into the match to take an early 1-0 lead.
A second goal with 13:20 left on the clock meant the Lady Raiders were staring down a two-goal deficit at halftime.
Just after two minuts, 10 seconds came off the clock to start the second half, Collins Hill had earned a corner kick and scored its third goal of the game.
With the third goal, the Lady Raiders began to show signs of what they were facing in a 3-0 score line.
"As soon as Collins Hill scored their first goal in the second half, making it 3-0, the energy seemed to deflate out of us," Carroll said. "We began to panic against their strong offensive attacks and couldn't hold our marks."
Less than two minutes later, senior Captain Carmin Dowdy went down on the field with a foot injury and had to be subbed out of the game. During Dowdy's time on the bench, the Lady Eagles delivered three goals in less than three minutes to put the Raiders down 6-0.
"When Carmin went down, we seemed to give up even more," Carroll said. "Carmin is a key player to keeping our offensive attack going. She is also a strong defensive presence. Her height gives us an advantage at deflecting shots on goal and their corners. When she went out, they were able to quickly score three goals on us, two off of corner kicks."
Dowdy was able to return to the game, with an uphill battle facing the team of a deficit that proved insurmountable.
To top off the game, the Lady Eagles drove home their final three goals inside the last 17 minutes of play.
"They were extremely quick with their one-two passing game," Carroll said. "We just couldn't keep up with it. The main thing we will focus on to prepare for Norcross is defending the quick passing game and creating those passing opportunities for ourselves."
The Eagles also took a shutout victory in the varsity boys' matchup by a 2-0 final score.
CHHS jumped out to an early lead in the game with a goal in the first 10 minutes of play, taking advantage of an aggressive offensive push off the start of the contest.
After the goal, the Raiders settled down and began to play stronger defense as well as making offensive runs of their own.
"We played well tonight," said Head Coach Ric Wallace. "We put 100 percent out there and took the game to those guys for long stretches of play."
The early successful attempt proved to be the only goal scored in the first half as HCHS had hopes of making a second half comeback win over the reigning region champions.
"[At halftime the team] believed this game was ours to take," Wallace said. "We were a bit unlucky on the goal we gave up and we just felt like ours was coming. Defensively, we had them contained, and we were doing things that we asked of those guys who like to get on the ball and run with it. We were getting chances, we weren't locked in, but we were attacking their back line. We asked some questions of their keeper and he made some saves early on and they just thought we were going to get one."
Minutes into the second half, the Eagles took advantage of the Raiders' lack of focus after a few calls from the officials left them with questions.
"On the second goal, we were unfortunate to give that up," Wallace said. "We just got to talking and I felt like we were distracted. That guy is one of their top players, and he was able to just scoot through and head the ball in."
The game was aggressive from both teams and at times tempers flared, resulting in many warnings and a few cards for players as a defensive battle ensued.
The game was back and forth as both teams pushed for goals and kept equal possession of the ball. Even as the defenses squared off, the Raiders were able to make runs to pressure the back line of the Eagle defense and get chances on goal.
"That's a team work rate. We're working for each other, ready to pop on loose balls, guys understanding where they're supposed to be and working collectively. That's all that is," Wallace said of his team being able to keep strong pressure in the offensive half.
As the game rolled into the late stages of competition, Raider defenseman Sam Mutton pushed forward in an attempt to will his team back into the game. The senior was able to get opportunities on goal. Those were either squandered by saves from the CHHS keeper or just off target.
Following the final horn, Mutton sat down and expressed his frustrations, saying "I should have had two goals!"
"[It's the] same thing we see night in and night out," Wallace said of the senior. "He's just battling and not going to stop. If he just had a striker's touch, we probably win a few of those, but he's a competitor."
As the late pushes were denied, the game came to its 2-0 final score, leaving the Raiders at 1-2 in region play.
"I think, in the end, we lacked that little bit of quality to stick [the ball] in the back of the net," Wallace said. "That's the defending region champs and I think we gave them everything they wanted for 80 minutes."
Wallace went on to say that the team will focus on their attempts on goal, heading into its region match with Norcross High School, as well as being smart about the team's ability to recover.
The varsity squads head to Norcross today, March 21, to take on the Blue Devils. Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. for the Lady Raiders, with the Raiders following directly after.