Redskins Ride Past the Raptors in Second Round Matchup

On the cool fall evening of Saturday, November 9th, your Manteo Redskins faced off against the Research Triangle Raptors in the second round of the state playoffs. Manteo earned a first-round bye in the playoffs by winning the Albermarle Athletic Conference and Research Triangle advanced by beating Tarboro 5-1 in the first round.

Research Triangle finished second in their respective conference behind Raleigh Charter and in front of Woods Charter. After facing both Woods Charter and Raleigh Charter in recent years, Manteo knew it would be a difficult second-round match-up against a solid team.

The game kicked off at a feverish pace that would be maintained throughout the entire game. Both teams were eager to earn an early goal and allow the momentum to carry them through the game.

Early on, it was clear the young players on the Manteo side were all a bit nervous in their first-ever playoff game. There were a handful of poor touches, poor decisions and misjudged balls in the air in the first five minutes. However, Research Triangle was unable to capitalize early on as they struggled to connect any meaningful passes in the final third.

When the Raptors attacked, they pushed heavy numbers forward, sliding their outside backs up the flanks in support of the attack. Research Triangle saw the better of the attacking opportunities in the first fifteen minutes of the first half. They had a goal called back as the attacker was played into the box while being offsides. They also had a quality shot on target that was touched just wide of the post by a diving Manteo goalkeeper, Cody Weaver. It was a brilliant save by Weaver that kept the game level at 0-0.

From then on, Manteo seemed to really settle into their normal style. The backline settled in and began to snuff out any and all attempts to play through or over their line. They were physical with the attackers and knocked them off the ball early before any effective attacks could materialize. The Manteo midfield settled into their positions as well, now finding the space behind the Raptor’s outside backs to play diagonal balls through to their wingers on the run down the flanks.

Midway through the first half, Manteo earned their first goal to put the home side at ease. The play began when the Raptor’s goalkeeper was brought out to the top of his box to control a long ball that was played in. Manteo striker, Andrew Hayman, had pressed hard on the ball along with his defender. The defender had initially pushed Hayman off the path of the ball and they both overran the ball as the goalkeeper stepped up to control it with his feet. As the goalkeeper took his time to pick his head up and find a pass, Hayman looped back and pressed the keeper from behind, forcing a hard pass to a Raptor’s midfielder in the central defensive third. The midfielder took a poor first touch and Carter Calvio was right there to knock the ball away from him and towards winger, Trent Hayman. Hayman made a great first touch amongst two pressing defenders and then laid off a short, well-weighted diagonal ball to Andrew Hayman, who had now looped back across the box, angling out to the right side of the box. The ball played Andrew Hayman into the box and behind his marking defender. Andrew Hayman struck the ball first time, shooting it on the ground back across the goal. The Raptor’s goalkeeper made an effort for a kick-save, but the ball skipped past him and into the net. The Redskins celebrated the early lead on the way back to midfield.

Throughout the rest of the first half, it was mostly a midfield battle. Manteo would see more counter-attacking opportunities that worked their way down into the final third, but Manteo’s midfield seemed hesitant to push up in support of the attacks, leaving missed opportunities to finish when balls were pumped back into the 18-yard box.

As the second half began, Research Triangle was clearly motivated to get an early second-half goal and level the score. Four minutes into the second half, they were just inches away from doing so.

The Raptors looked to play their striker in behind the Manteo backline with a long ball over the top. Manteo left-back, Oscar Rivera, anticipated the long ball and positioned well to track it down in front of the pressing striker. As the ball awkwardly bounced into the top of the 18-yard box, Rivera looked to clear it out but the ball was miss-hit as Weaver came sliding out for the ball as well. Rivera, Weaver, and the Raptor’s striker all collided in the effort to win the ball and went down. The ball was now slowly rolling into the left corner of the goal. Brian Estrada-Tovar came sprinting out of nowhere, cleared the ball off the goal line just before crashing into the post himself.

The home crowd roared with excitement and relief as Estrada-Tovar kept the clean sheet alive. The roar of the crowd seemed to energize both the Redskins and the student section for the rest of the game. From then on, it was all Redskins.

Fifteen minutes into the second half, Manteo doubled their lead with another goal from Andrew Hayman. Hayman was set up as Calvio rose above his defender to win a 50/50 ball in the air off of a Raptor goal-kick. Calvio headed the ball out of the center midfield and into the attacking third past their two center-backs. Hayman pressed on the ball immediately along with the two defenders. As the ball settled to the ground, rolling towards the goal, Hayman made the slightest of touches to avoid one defender, allowing him to split the two and earn just enough room for a shot near the penalty marker. Hayman buried it in the back of the net to make it a 2-0 lead for the Redskins.

Andrew Hayman received a substitution break five minutes later with Brayan Hernandez-Ramirez replacing him up top. Not long into his appearance as the Manteo striker, Hernandez-Ramirez made a direct impact.

Research Triangle had pushed numbers forward in an effort to get a goal back and stay in the game. Manteo dispossessed them down in the left corner of their defensive third. The ball was played out to the left-winger, Richard Hernandez, as he had tracked back to help defend. Hernandez quickly played Calvio in the center midfield. Calvio collected the ball as he turned and picked his head to see the opportunity for the quick counter-attack. Calvio sent a beautiful diagonal ball in the air down the right flank for Trent Hayman to run on to. The ball landed behind the Raptor backline and bounced perfectly in stride with the sprinting Trent Hayman. Hayman crossed the ball out of the air with his first touch to a streaking Hernandez-Ramirez in the middle of the box. Hernandez-Ramirez brought the ball down with a touch on his right thigh. Hernandez-Ramirez then took a shot from the top of the six-yard box that was deflected out by the goal-keeper. The ball bounced out to the trailing Trent Hayman. Hayman shot the ball first time to the far-post side-netting for Manteo’s third goal of the evening.

Research Triangle’s only real shot the rest of the game came from a free-kick spotted just outside the box. The shot was inches wide of the post but Weaver had it covered all the way regardless.

Manteo put the game far out of reach from the Raptors with their fourth goal on the evening. Calvio worked hard to dispossess the Raptor’s defensive midfielder in the middle of the field. As he collected the ball and pushed it into open space away from the pressing defender, he picked his head to see the Raptor’s left-back pulled up off of their backline. Trent Hayman made his run down the right flank and Calvio played a perfectly weighted diagonal ball that narrowly split the gap between the outside back and the center-back. Trent Hayman took his shot on the first touch and his shot clanked off the near post and spun across the goal, just outside the far post. Andrew Hayman had been making his run on the far post and passed the ball in with his left foot to earn a hat-trick for himself and cement the victory for the Redskins.

The game would end with the 4-0 scoreline in favor of the home side.

Team Stats
MHS
RT
Possession %
48.8%
51.2%
Attacking Transitions
69
46
Goals
4
0
Shots
13
4
Crosses
8
2
Corners
1
0
Free Kicks
8
19
Passes
239
224
Successful Passes
125
108
Pass Success Rate
52%
48%

Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “This was a big test for our young team. We have been playing great soccer as of late, but our boys needed to prove themselves and find their confidence against quality opponents outside our region. I feel we did just that tonight with a convincing win over a quality team. Our young defense really stepped up to not only shut them out but to hold them to only four shots. They did a great job of negating their attack by reading their methods of distribution to their target striker. Once we figured out we could exploit their outside backs when they pinch forward with quick counter-attacks, our attack became lethal. Calvio and Goetsch did a great job of distributing those diagonal balls into critical space behind their backs for our wingers to run on to and make plays. Overall, I’m proud of our boys for the effort and heart they played with and looking forward to another tough opponent in the playoffs.”

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