ELIZABETHTOWN — East Bladen got off on the right foot Wednesday in the opening round of the NCHSAA Class 2-A soccer playoffs, posting a 3-0 win over visiting Midway.
The win propels the Eagles, 21-1, into the second round on Saturday, when they will host Clinton at 6 p.m. The Dark Horses gave East Bladen its only loss of the season back in September.
Garrett Melvin put the Eagles on the board with a goal halfway into the first half. The goal came after passes from Gabe Barber and Caleb Hatchell.
That lead stood up until intermission, as both teams relied on a stiff defense.
In the second half, East Bladen doubled its lead when B.J. Monroe found Brooks McGill with a pass, and McGill gave Gabe Barber a perfect pass that Barber sent into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.
Later in the half, Jacob Barber scored off a pass from Hatchell to give the Eagles their final margin of victory.
Spencer Scott was credited with two saves in the East Bladen net for the shutout.
Defensively, Greyson Heustess had 15 steals and McGill was right behind with 14. Keshaun Davis added 13 steals, while the duo of Gabe Barber and Dan Tatum each contributed 12.
East Bladen pulled off the hat trick in defeating the Raiders for the third time this season — the first two coming in non-conference matches by the score of 5-2 and 4-1.
Overall, the Eagles have now scored 143 goals — best among the state’s Class 2-A teams — and allowed just 12, which remains third-best in Class 2-A.