Chuckey-Doak earned a spot in the regional tournament and clinched the regular season conference title with a 4-1 win over West Greene Tuesday afternoon.
“Any win is a good win and any district win is even better,” Black Knights Coach Corey Braithwaite mentioned.
It was a dominant performance from the Knights with almost everything going their way for most of the matchup. Two first-half goals from Ethan Grindstaff and one from Rio Little helped aid in their championship-clinching victory.
With the win, they earn the number one seed going into the D1-A tournament and will receive a first-round bye.
They kept control of the midfield for majority of the first half without letting West Greene gain the upper hand. Even though they held possession for almost the entire first eighteen minutes, only two shots were taken up to this point. They waited patiently and didn’t force tough shots.
Rio Little broke the ice with a bullet into the net for Chuckey-Doak’s first goal of the contest in the 18th minute.
“That got us off the ground. That first goal is always the hardest one to get and they tend to flow after that,” Braithwaite said. “When we need him to perform he’s maybe the hardest working player on the field in most games. He’s always giving 100%.”
They didn’t have to wait long for their next goal only seven minutes later. Ethan Grindstaff slipped one across the goal line to pad their lead to 2-0 in the 25th minute.
Chuckey-Doak managed to keep control and scored one more goal on their final opportunity of the first half. With time winding down, Grindstaff scored again to boost their lead to 3-0 going into halftime.
“It’s good to see him get some successful shots on goal. He’s been in a bit of a drought,” Braithwaite stated.
The Buffaloes struggled to steal the ball away and were held, not only without a goal, but without a shot through the entire first half.
“We were working on positive touches and possession. Maintaining possessions and making good decisions and it worked out. We tend to be vulnerable to the counter attack and making mistakes when we do possess and it was a little bit better tonight,” Coach Braithwaite expressed.
They started finding more success on offense halfway through the second. Nic Horner was given an opportunity to put West Greene on the board with a penalty kick in the 60th minute. Levi Wirt hadn’t done any work on the field as the Buffs still hadn’t taken a shot yet. It didn’t phase him at all and the sophomore keeper blocked Horner’s attempt on the penalty shot.
“Levi made the PK save and made maybe one other save and I don’t think there was anything else he had to do,” Braithwaite mentioned.
West Greene was presented with another opportunity on a corner kick six minutes later. The first shot attempt after the ball landed was defended by Chuckey-Doak’s back line. It was pin-balled around until Fernando Mejia found the ball at his feet and scored West Greene’s lone goal of the afternoon.
The ten-minute stretch between the 60th and 70th minutes presented several opportunities for the Buffs to score. Horner set up for a free kick just two minutes later and fired away from 40 feet out. The kick bounced out of Wirt’s grasp and almost turned into another goal for West Greene, but their second attempt sailed over the crossbar.
Chuckey-Doak’s Brayden Collins added one more goal for good measure in the 79th minute.
The Black Knights prevailed 4-1 at the final whistle. Ethan Grindstaff accounted for two goals while Rio Little and Collins added one each.
Chuckey-Doak travels to play Unicoi County next on Thursday afternoon at 6:30. The Buffaloes are set to host Cosby on Thursday at 6:00.