Cyclones earn trip to region with a win over Blue Devils
Published 11:48 pm Wednesday, May 12, 2021
BY ALLEN LAMOUNTAIN
Juniors led the way on Tuesday as Clay Hopland and Isaac Hurley each scored two goals as Elizabethton shutout Unicoi County 4-nil to advance to the region and a conference championship game Thursday at Greeneville.
With a win in Greeneville, the Cyclones (10-4-3 overall, 4-1 conference) will have a home region game and will stay there as long as they are victorious until the state tournament.
“When you dominate a game like we did in this one, you expect more goals,” Cyclones head coach Bill McClay said. “We had a lot of opportunities with the ball bouncing around but not finding the back of the net.
“It was a little unfortunate in the first half, but the second half we had two that should have counted that didn’t. But given that, we didn’t have any breakdowns and defensively we played pretty well.”
Hopland got the Cyclones on the scoreboard in the fourth minute taking a set-up pass from Dawson May and finishing with a shot past Blue Devils goalkeeper Kenny Meza for a 1-nil advantage.
That lead held through the remainder of the half and six minutes into the second half EHS had a great opportunity with a corner kick from senior Holston Howard.
Howard’s corner kick went to the middle of the frame where Hopland slid in and his shot found the back of the net for a two-goal Cyclones lead.
The Blue Devils got their first shot on goal when Brayan Espinosa fired a shot from outside the penalty area that was stopped by EHS senior goalkeeper Noah Lambert on one hop.
EHS had the majority of possession once again with smart crossing passes and what coach McClay called “triangle passes that we did well. Our strikers had a good night due to us being able to keep possession with little passes.”
The Cyclones added to its lead in the 75th minute when Hurley scored a left-footed goal on a nice setup from Skylar Jenkins giving EHS a 3-nil lead.
With less than a minute remaining on the clock Hurley scored once again making the final tally of 4-nil.
EHS will travel to Greeneville on Thursday for a 6 pm clash in the conference championship match. The Cyclones fell 3-nil in their earlier meeting but McClay is hopeful his team has learned from that game saying, “We could have had a two-goal lead early but had some bad luck. I think we need to defend well and be brave on the attack and take shots when they present themselves.”
District 1-AA Boys Soccer
Unicoi Co 0 0 – 0
EHS 1 3 – 4
E – Hopland (assist May) 4:00
E – Hopland (assist Howard) 46:00
E – I. Hurley (assist Jenkins) 75:00
E – I. Hurley (unassisted) 79:00