The Midway soccer club wrapped up non-conference action on Wednesday evening, hosting North Duplin in a game that was added late after Princeton decided to drop its soccer program for this season.
Midway, led by workhorse Jeremy Cifuentes, used a solid second half performance to score a pair of late game goals to clinch the 5-3 victory over the visiting Rebels.
Midway got things started quick. After goal keeper Ivan Medina turned away one of several big Rebels shots on goal, the Raiders picked up their first goal of the game at the 34:07 mark of the first half. Uvaldo Acosta took an assist from Cifuentes and slid a shot just past the Rebels goal keeper, giving Midway the early 1-0 lead.
A couple minutes later, Medina turned away another shot on goal as North Duplin was able to break away for a one-on-one shot.
As the action continued, Midway struck again, this time off the foot of Cifuentes at the 30:45 mark in the first half, increasing the Raider lead to 2-0.
Faced with the 2-0 deficit, North Duplin responded, as the Rebels settled down and seem to seize some control and was able to hold Midway at. After avoiding the disaster of giving up a pair of Midway goals, the Rebels hard work finally paid off as they were able to score a goal at the 12:02 mark of the first half to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Late in the first half, the Rebels continued to turn up the intensity, finally cashing in on some opportunities they had been missing throughout the half. With 4:40 remaining in the half, North Duplin tied things up at 2-2.
Midway was able to pick up one more goal in the half after Cifuentes was awarded a penalty kick following a collision with the Rebels goal keeper. With 2:05 remaining in the half, Cifuentes sent the uncontested shot into the back of the net to give the Raiders a 3-2 halftime lead.
In the second half, both teams’ goal keepers were put to the test as each team had multiple missed scoring opportunities before North Duplin finally cracked the scoreboard. With 23:47 remaining, North Duplin got a 2-on-1 breakaway to tie the game up at 3-3.
Cifuentes answered for Midway. Not even a full minute later, with 22:29 remaining, Cifuentes took the assist from Jose Rodriguez to reclaim the Raider lead, 4-3.
Late in the game, Midway would add an insurance goal, once again off the foot of Cifuentes who took an assist from Hasley Palacios for the 5-3 lead.
That lead held the remainder of the way, as Midway held North Duplin at bay to clinch the 5-3 victory.
After the game, Midway head coach Allen McLamb praised his opponent and credited his team on the solid win.
“Hat’s off to North Duplin, they’re a very good, well-coached team, and I think they’re going to do well going forward,” McLamb begin.
“We moved the ball better tonight than we have been but we still have to work on our middle. In the second half, I thought we settled down and played better defensively and I have to give credit to Ivan, he had 11 big saves,” McLamb continued.
“We start conference next week and I told the guys we just have to keep getting better each game going forward,” McLamb concluded.
Midway was led by Cifuenetes with four goals, adding to his already impressive totals, and one assist. Acosta had one goal, Martinez had two assists, and Palacios had one assist.
Midway will be back in action on Monday as they open up Four County Conference play when travel to East Bladen. Game time is set for 6 p.m.