District Soccer: EHS strikes like lightning in win over Unicoi County
Published 11:44 pm Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Eight seconds is a drill the Elizabethton boys soccer team practices and the idea is a quick strike counter attack in eight seconds. On Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Stadium in the opening round of the district 1A/AA boys soccer tournament it came to life on the playing field.
EHS (12-3) broke a scoreless deadlock in the 42nd minute with junior forward Dante Callahan scoring the only goal of the match as the Cyclones defeated Unicoi County (7-8) 1-0.
The Cyclones broke the deadlock early in the second half as Bolognese and worked the basketball equivalent of a give and go as Teve Mushayamunda took possession at midfield and found Bolognese down the home sideline.
Bolognese found Callahan in the middle where he split two UC defenders and fired a low shot past Martinez to his right to give EHS a 1-nil lead.
“Eight seconds is a counter attack drill we run,” Bolognese said. “Me and Dante have been talking and coordinating one, two’s where we both have the touch for it and he knew how much it meant for the seniors to keep this going.”
The Cyclones maintained control through much of the first half with play in the Blue Devils end, but shots were hard to come by as each had just two shots on goal in the first half. EHS had the first two shots of the game early on a breakaway from senior Daniel Bolognese whose shot was handled by Unicoi County goalkeeper Eddie Martinez.
Bolognese had another shot that he fired low and Martinez was again able to handle the attempt and turn the shot away.
Blue Devils freshman striker Juan Ponce fired a high shot from the right of EHS keeper Noah Lovelace that he turned away and Michael Robinson cleared from the penalty area.
In the 53rd minute UC had a potentially dangerous attempt go by the boards when Jose Ortiz broke down the home sideline and fired a low shot that beat Lovelace but junior backline defender Hayden Townsend cleared the shot away.
“We knew coming in that this would be a tight game,” Lovelace said. “We knew we had to want it more than they did. We knew we had to watch for them making runs and we just wanted it more.”
In the 60th minute EHS had a golden opportunity when Michael Robinson fired a corner kick into the penalty box and Townsend headed toward the goal. Cameron Higgins was able to head the ball away for the Devils for he save.
Ponce missed an open net in the 65th minute on a crossing pass from Ortiz that Ponce fired over the crossbar. Lovelace made a tremendous save in the 73rd minute as UC sent in a corner kick and Samuel Murello fired a high blast that Lovelace caught and left no rebound.
“Even a neutral observer to the game should have been hooked by what they saw tonight,” Cyclones head coach Bill McClay said. “I told the kids before the game that these games are why I still love doing this. This is what you start with early on, with everything on the line and looking at the end of the season, and you lay it on the line. I took some quotations from Teddy Roosevelt in pre game and I told them to ‘dare greatly’ and spend yourself completely.”
The Cyclones will host Sullivan South on Thusday for the district 1A/AA championship and a home game in the regional tournament. Game time is tentatively set for 6 pm.
Unicoi County 0 0 – 0
Elizabethton 0 1 – 1
E – Callahan (assist – Bolognese) 42:00