Cyclones take shutout loss to Bucs

Published 11:50 pm Wednesday, March 24, 2021

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On Tuesday evening at Citizens Bank Stadium, the Elizabethton Cyclones failed to take advantage of the many opportunities presented in a 2-nil loss to University High in boys soccer action.

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The Cyclones (1-2 overall) had nine shots on goal and had eight corner kicks in the first half alone – nine of those in total – and yet failed to put even one ball behind Buccaneers goalkeeper Sam McGee.

“In the first half we were really sharp,” Cyclones head coach Bill McClay said. “On their first goal we stopped because clearly there was a handball, but they (referees) didn’t call it.

“My players said he was offside and he shot it and it went in. So there it was, one shot and were down a goal and we had the better of play. That’s the way this game is.”

University High got on the scoreboard in the 17th minute when Bracken Burns scored on a long shot from near the sideline that was well placed with a strong pace and staked the Bucs to a one-goal lead.

EHS had opportunities including almost slipping a goal in off a corner kick by Holston Howard that McGee went high to catch.

A second opportunity was spoiled by a sensational save by McGee who punched away a high shot by junior Clay Hopland. Hopland would later score a goal that was waved off on a questionable offside call that would have cut the lead to 2-1.

“We didn’t make the most of our opportunities,” McClay said. “We had some decent looks. They defended the corner kicks pretty well. In the second half, I don’t think we played the ball quick enough.

“Once we got to midfield with the ball they just backed everybody in. They would have nine guys playing back and we didn’t move the ball in early enough when they were up.”

In the 63rd minute, Burns struck again, this time off a nice crossing ball from Pate Anglin that gave him enough of a look to fire a low hard shot that beat EHS keeper Noah Lambert to his right.

Braced with a two-goal lead UH now went into a defensive mode that allowed the Cyclones to control the midfield, but not advance into a dangerous attacking position at the penalty area.

After Burns second goal, the Cyclones had another opportunity wasted when Howard had a free-kick from 27 yards out and his high pass into the box found Braden Holly whose header shot was caught by McGee who was outstanding in goal for UH.

UH was turned away from scoring a third goal when Lambert made an outstanding save on a blast from Braden Williams that he went low to the turf to corral and moments later EHS was turned away when Hopland’s goal was disallowed.

University High 2-0

University High 1 1 – 2

Elizabethton 0 0 – 0

Scoring summary

First Half

UH – Burns (unassisted) 17:00

Second Half

UH – Burns (assist Anglin) 63:00