One day not enough to settle district 1-AA opener

Published 9:45 am Wednesday, October 14, 2015




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KINGSPORT – When 110 minutes of soccer wasn’t enough to settle the issue in the district 1-AA tournament match between Elizabethton and Sullivan South it was time for penalty kicks to decide it.

You can’t argue with Mother Nature however, and with no lights at this facility, the game was suspended, knotted at 1-1 as darkness descended.

Senior Britni Beasley got the Lady Cyclones on the scoreboard in the eighth minute when she fired a shot past Lady Rebels goalkeeper Hope Hiester. Beasley’s shot came off a rebound of a shot by junior Haley Burleson which caromed off the left post of the goal frame. She made the most of the opportunity.

“We played really well, but had one error that let in the tying goal,” Lady Cyclones head coach Bill McClay said. “We had the ball forward a good bit of the time and we had enough shots. The girls did exactly what we asked of them, but we had some missed opportunities.”

The Cyclones outshot Sullivan South 5-3 in the first half, and also had the majority of possession time as well. But EHS simply failed to put any more distance between them and the Rebels.

In the second half, junior Linda Espino was given a great chance when the Cyclones were awarded a penalty kick. But her hard blast struck the crossbar and Hiester fielded the rebound to keep it a one-goal game.

South shot themselves in the foot as well, as a header shot by Rachel Phillips went wide of the frame after a nice pass from Taylor Little into the penalty area. Little had a breakaway chance in the first half but EHS keeper Loan Campbell gobbled up her low shot.

“We wanted to shove them down in their end and keep them there,” McClay said. “And we were able to do that for the most part. Then we had the one off the crossbar and Haley’s shot that struck the crossbar. Britni had one just miss. This game was so much like the last time we played them when it ended in a tie. We just weren’t able to close the deal.”

It was Little in the 60th minute that knotted the game. She took off on a breakaway from 40 yards out and split two EHS defenders in the penalty area, firing a shot past Campbell who had correctly come out to cut down the angle.

Freshman Abby Townsend made a last ditch attempt to take the ball off Little’s foot, to no avail as Little was locked and loaded and she didn’t miss her chance.

The Cyclones had two chances late in the game, as Burleson fired a shot that struck the crossbar and Caitlyn Gardner’s shot off the rebound was smothered by Hiester. Espino also had a shot on goal that Hiester was able to stop but Campbell stopped a pair of shots on goal from corner kicks by Phillips.

Two 10-minute overtimes saw no score as did two five-minute periods with each team having two shots on goal each. As darkness crept in, making it difficult for the officials to make out player numbers, play was suspended.

Game time for the completion was unclear as coach McClay wanted a 3 p.m start, but after speaking with Lady Rebels head coach Keith Parker, the matter was unclear.

“I am not sure we can get officials here by three o’clock,” he said. “Bill and I will have to talk at some point tomorrow to see when we can finish this. We simply ran out of daylight and there wasn’t anything else we could but suspend it.”