Scrappy Lady Cyclones fight to the end in close match
Published 11:01 pm Tuesday, September 8, 2015
BY ALLEN LAMOUNTAIN
JOHNSON CITY – In the early going, the girls’ soccer match between Elizabethton and University High at Civitan Park on Tuesday evening, looked to be a runaway victory for the Lady Buccaneers. The Lady Cyclones ramped up the defensive effort after giving up two lightning-quick goals, but fell to UH 2-1 in a game that was every bit as close as the final score indicated.
Senior Lexi Crouthers and sophomore Sarah Robinson scored for the Lady Bucs in the first four minutes, but senior Lexi Williams got one of those back in the eighth minute to get her team back on its feet.
Crouthers’ goal came in the first minute of play and came as a result of being in the right place at precisely the right time. Robinson dribbled in toward the penalty area on the team sideline and crossed in front of EHS goalkeeper Loran Campbell.
She fired a shot that was blocked, but not controlled, by the Cyclones’ back line. Robinson tracked the ball down and tried again, but she was blocked once again by the defense. Crouthers raced in from the left side, and her shot beat Campbell to her right.
“I think Lexi coming and pushing up on that left wing was good, but I don’t discount my two forwards coming through there, too, creating some chaos,” Lady Bucs head coach Dan Almond said. “They put pressure on the goalkeeper, and the ball bounced out. I give her credit for being in the right position, and you have to give effort to be in the right position.”
Three minutes later, another mistake in the midfield allowed Robinson to possess the ball and gave her some space to work with. She was able to dribble into the penalty area unchallenged, and she did not miss out on the opportunity to give UH a two-goal lead.
The stunned Cyclones (2-6 overall, 1-2 conference) rallied quickly, however, with junior Caitlyn Gardner moving the ball into the Bucs’ third of the field. She passed to sophomore Abby Bryan, who tried a shot that was blocked by Daysha Collins in front of the UH goal.
Collins turned to send the ball out of the danger zone, but Williams was there and fired a left-footed shot past Bucs goalkeeper Samantha Shearin to cut the deficit to 2-1. Williams’ goal came in the eighth minute and provided a big lift to a team that was looking to get blown out.
“She didn’t know that I was behind her when she tried to clear,” Williams said. “I knew we had to score there because if we didn’t, we would probably be down on ourselves.”
From there, EHS settled into a defensive stance and went into the halftime break with a 4-2 deficit in shots on goal. That differential would even itself out in the second half as the Cyclones outshot UH 4-3 in the second half with Williams almost providing the equalizer.
Junior Linda Espino served a ball into the penalty area from a free kick outside the box, and Williams was able to head it tantalizingly close to going over the fingertips of Shearin, but she was able to hold on.
“That goalie was pretty tall,” Williams said. “I had a defender right on my back as we both went up for it. I don’t think I got all of it since she was jumping with me and it didn’t quite get over. We never gave up.”
EHS did not get a shot on goal in the last 22 minutes of the contest, though, as UH possessed the ball in the Cyclones’ end a good bit of the time, with Gracie Somich, Robinson and Annika Oiler each firing shots at Campbell that she handled with no rebounds.
“We have to play 80 minutes and not 76,” Lady Cyclones head coach Bill McClay said.
“We played well, and that’s the way soccer goes,” he said. “You have to eliminate mistakes and take advantage of opportunities. I think after that beginning, we played pretty well.”
FOR PHOTOS FROM MATCH GO HERE: http://goo.gl/u9Hymd
Elizabethton 1 0– 1
University High 2 0 – 2
UH – Crouthers(assist Robinson) 1:00
UH – Robinson(unassisted) 4:00
EHS – Williams(unassisted) 8:00
Shots on goal: UH7, EHS 6
Yellow Cards (E -Williams 17:00, UH Hannah Peters 78:00)