East Carter's boys and girls soccer teams could have sung “Anything you can do, I can do better.”
The Raiders and Lady Raiders didn't actually warble the Irving Berlin tune from the 1946 Broadway musical “Annie Get Your Gun” during Saturday's 62nd District finals at Kentucky Christian University, but there were lots of shots and scores at Greenup County's expense. The Lady Raiders claimed a 6-0 shutout, and the Raider boys overwhelmed the Musketeers, 5-1.
East's boys continued to make people forget its three-game slide in losses to Ashland, West Carter and Hurricane (W.Va.) — the Raiders have outscored Bath County, Elliott County and Greenup County by a combined 19-3 margin.
Ben Fritz, who coaches both East teams, doesn't think one team's trip to the 16th Region is any more impressive. “I feel good for these kids,” he said.
Senior midfielder Quinn Huddle, senior forward Tucker Carper and junior forward Eli Green are responsible for much of the Raiders' offense — all three have 13 goals for the season.
Huddle, Carper and Green are also making a friendly intra-team rivalry. Carper is the least experienced of the three; this is just his second season playing soccer.
“I actually played golf before this,” Carper said. “... To be a part of a team means a lot to me; all my teammates are like my brothers to me. You feel the love with all our team.”
Carper, Huddle and Green talk about their goals after every game. Huddle said Carper playfully brags the most — to which Carper laughed and offered no rebuttal.
“It's all in good fun,” Carper said. “Quinn's put in most of our important goals this season, so you've got to give it all to him for that. He's our playmaker.”
Green believes in having fun playing soccer so much, he cut off his long brown locks for a “faux-hawk,” with an inch of hair slicked to form a peak and about the same amount around the rest of his head.
“I woke up (Saturday) morning and decided that I've been wearing a hat for five years, so I thought I'd get it cut off,” he said.
As East's girls did earlier Saturday (East scored twice in a minute), the Raider boys (10-4-2) struck early. Carper missed a shot over the crossbar in the second minute, but Green's beat the Musketeers' Reese Dillon about 60 seconds later.
After Quinn Huddle scored in the 16th minute, Carper redeemed himself by converting Evan Huddle's pass in the 17th minute, and freshman Michael Marsh made it 4-0 seconds later. Evan Huddle scored in the 50th.
Greenup County (7-9-2) avoided a shutout in the 77th minute when senior Seth Boyle sent a 15-yard shot past outstretched East backup keeper Nick Lucas.
East and Greenup County boys and girls teams all advance to this week's 16th Region tournaments.
The Lady Raiders won their fifth straight game and recorded their third shutout in their last four. They are 8-1-1 over their last 10 matches.
Fritz didn't think playing on a World Cup-size (120 yards long and 60 wide) pitch Saturday would be a problem, and it wasn't. Juniors Alexa Sturgill and Taylor Burnett scored twice, and junior Macy Dyer and sophomore Hanna Losch each added one.
“I thought we passed the ball pretty well,” Fritz said.
Greenup County (9-10-2) coach Travis Gillum talked about preventing long East runs down the sideline. Thing was, the Lady Musketeers often left wide open spaces in front of Lady Musketeers goalkeeper Paige Howard.
And the Lady Raiders (16-1-1) quickly took advantage — four goals in 15 minutes. They outshot the Lady Musketeers, 17-2, for the game.
Burnett beat Howard to the lower left side in the second minute, followed by Sturgill's boot to the lower right a minute later, Dyer's goal in the 13th minute and Sturgill's second score off a Lexie Cline assist from the left side.
“(I was) a little bit surprised,” Sturgill said about being so open. “You just have to find the space.”
Cline's goal was almost leisurely. She settled the ball, hesitated and scored from just outside the 18-yard box.
“We just couldn't move the ball,” Gillum said. “They're just quicker than us. I don't know what else to say.”
Girls All-Tournament team
Elliott County – Jade Preece, Tabby Holbrook
West Carter – Amber Buckley, Tesla Henderson
Greenup County – Olivia Ball, Jordan Gillum, Destiny Jones
East Carter – Macy Dyer (Most Valuable Player), Taylor Burnett, Amber Hall, Kathy Chaffins
Boys All-Tournament team
Elliott County – Luis Loza, Malaika Parke
West Carter – Matthew Patrick, Justin Ratliff
Greenup County – Seth Boyle, Wade Reed, Cole Redmond
East Carter – Tucker Carper (Most Valuable Player), Ryan Walker, Quinn Huddle, Seth Marsh