A small measure of revenge… Lady Cyclones take a 2-nil win over Central on the pitch
BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
For the returning members of the 2020 Elizabethton Lady Cyclone soccer team, there still remains a bitter taste of a loss they suffered in the first round of the playoffs to Sullivan Central on their home turf at Citizens Bank Stadium to end 2019.
On Wednesday evening, the Lady Cyclones managed to swish just a little of that bad taste out as they handled the Lady Cougars by taking a 2-nil shutout victory in a game that was being played outside of the conference.
It was just what the Lady Cyclones needed as they ran their season mark to 1-1 after suffering a 7-1 defeat to Jeff County on Tuesday evening on the road.
“I think we were better in the first half,” said Elizabethton head coach Bill McClay after watching his team earn the win. “After playing last night and not getting home until after 11 pm, it showed a little bit, especially in the second half.
“In the first half, I felt like we were a little sharper and controlled the play more. They put the pressure on us in the second half and it took us like 30 minutes to get the ball in behind them.
“So I think there was some fatigue going on there. It’s something else to work on.”
The Lady Cyclones dented the scoreboard at the 23:34 mark of the first half when junior Maddie O’Quinn found the back of the net after the ball skipped off the fingers of the Central goalie to give Elizabethton the 1-nil lead.
That score would hold up until the half.
The Lady Cyclones got their final score of the night at 54:30 of the contest when freshman Mollie Johnson squeezed a ball past the goalie to give the Elizabethton their second and final score of the contest.
It was Johnson’s second goal of the season as she accounted for the only score against Jeff County in a losing cause.
“I have to be reminded that its just the second game where in the past it would have been our second scrimmage in camp,” McClay added. “This would still be like in July. We have to go a little bit faster and make decisions on positions and things that will work in our next game which is a conference game.
“The games keep coming so making a decision on who plays where is a decision that we have to make pretty quick.
“Right now I think that we have a good one when everyone is tuned in and not tired like they were. It’s not a bad start though.”
The Lady Cyclones opened up against a very good Jeff County team to open the season. They dropped the contest 7-1, but in looking back to last year’s contest, McClay said that minus three goals his team allowed Jeff County to score that shouldn’t have happened, the result would have been about the same as last season.
“We played a better team last night – that’s the bottom line,” McClay stated about the season opener. “We gave away two early goals last night and then in the next 15 minutes we had them sitting back but it just didn’t do any good.
“We pressed really well and didn’t give them a lot of space to field the ball out of the back as they wanted and we created two good opportunities on the goal.
“The actual execution needed to be a little better but they forced saves out of the keeper and made a couple of corner kicks which again we needed better execution but we had the opportunity,” McClay continued. “We gave away a goal late in the half so we always talk about how we have to start off the first five minutes well and the last five minutes of the half well.
“We gave away a goal in the first five minutes and a goal in the last.”
McClay went on to add that the goal the Lady Cyclones scored in the second half wasn’t just a goal against reserves but came against the Jeff County first team.
“We came out in the second half and scored a legitimate goal against their first team,” he said. “We won the ball at midfield and Mollie Johnson made a good run to score that goal. She is only going to get better if we get her the ball. She is a freshman and that’s the thing if you can score a goal every game you will have a pretty good career.
“I think she is hungry for that. We have two freshmen upfront. We have a few more places to fill than before and trying to find someone who can fill those spots are what we are looking for.”
One player that made an impact in Wednesday’s contest was the Lady Cyclone goalkeeper Morgan Heaton. Not only did Heaton pitch a shutout in the contest but she did so by stopping a couple of organized runs that the Lady Cougars mounted.
McClay was especially happy with one of those saves saying, “We made a mistake letting them go down the middle of the field and she stopped a one-on-one.”
Overall, McClay was happy that his team picked up the win but realizes that the road only gets tougher over the upcoming weeks.
“It was a good game and a good one to win especially since they beat us last year so we have Volunteer here next Tuesday – the first conference game that matters and then we go to Tennessee High,” McClay said. “That’s the thing about our schedule is that we have to keep going up.”