The Cougar soccer team was the first team to begin preseason play last Saturday as they traveled to Warren East for varsity and JV matchups.
After a scoreless first half in the opening, JV contest, the Cougars scored three straight goals, two of them by Eric Litvak, then staved off a big Warren East comeback to win the scrimmage 3-2.
In the varsity contest, both Jordan Bounds and Presley Cilyok scored two goals and Damon Jones had three assists as they defeated the Raiders 5-1.
The Cougars controlled the action from the start, holding the ball inside Raider territory nearly the entire game. Goalkeeper Colton Cockriel had to make just a couple of saves in the game before the Raiders finally put one in the net with about seven minutes left, with the Cougars leading 5-0.
Though the Cougars set the pace in the early moments of the first half, it took them a little over seven minutes to get themselves on the scoreboard.
Controlling the ball in the midfield, Jones sent a ball ahead, over the top of the Raider defense, right to Isaac Clemons, who settled the ball and took it in on goal, beating the keeper with a shot from about 30 yards out that put the Cougars on top 1-0.
About two minutes later the Cougars were on the board again. Jones won a ball in the far right corner and quickly brought in in toward the goal. Just as he neared the corner of the goal, he sent a beautiful centering pass to Presley Cilyok, who then put the ball in the net to make it 2-0.
The Raiders were able to keep the Cougars from scoring for the next 10 minutes, but with a little under five minutes left in the half, the Cougars worked some more scoring magic.
Making a rush up the middle of the field, Cilyok put a ball past the Raider defense to Bounds, who cleared the ball ahead, then sent a left-footed rocket on goal which beat the diving keeper on his left, and the Cougars held a comfortable 3-0 heading into the second half.
Grayson County had a couple of good opportunities at the start of the first half but were turned away. But just short of nine minutes into the half, the Cougars struck again. Presley fed the ball to Bounds on the left wing and the senior dribbled past a couple of defenders and beat the keeper with a left-footed, crossing shot into the opposite corner of the net to make it 4-0.
A little over two minutes later, Jones picked up his third assist by feeding Cilyok for his second goal to give the Cougars an insurmountable 5-0 lead.
With lots of subs in the game, the Cougars gave up the only Raider goal of the game with a little over seven minutes to play, but it was too little and too late to make a difference in the outcome.
Neither team could crack the scoring column in the first half, though Amos Goodman just missed a goal when he was whistled for being offside after putting a shot in the net.
But just under four minutes into the second half, Litvak settled a pass and shot it into the goal from about 30 yards to put his team on top 1-0.
About five minutes later, Livak put the Cougars up 2-0. Taking the ball on the left wing, Litvak dribbled past a couple of defenders and lofted a ball just beyond the outstretched arms of the Raider keeper and settled it into the net for his second goal.
Just short of 10 minutes into the half, the Cougars put a nice through-ball to Carter Schultz, who took it away from a Raider defender and put it into the net to make it 3-0.
Though it seemed as though the game was well in hand, the Raiders refused to concede. With a little over nine minutes left in the game, they scored to make it 3-1.
When they scored again with under four minutes to play, the Cougars were scrambling to hold on to their lead. But they managed to keep the hard-charging Raiders out of the net the rest of the way to preserve their win.