District 1-AA Soccer Championship… Cyclones fall to first-half Greene Devils blitz
BY ALLEN LAMOUNTAIN
GREENEVILLE – The first 13 minutes of Thursday’s district 1-AA championship game at Burley Stadium saw the Elizabethton Cyclones soccer team blitzed for three goals.
The score remained that way until the final horn sounded as senior goalkeeper Noah Lambert and his backline defenders stonewalled the Greene Devils but fell 3-nil.
For Greeneville it is the 12th consecutive district title, though it has been won on different levels, going from A to AA over the course of those years.
“They got ahead of us and we just got upset and out of sorts,” Cyclones head coach Bill McClay said. “We just had to regroup, and say ‘we can’t change the scoreboard but we can make them work for it.’ We went out there in the second half and played our hearts out. I told them at halftime if they beat us, they beat us, but let’s not roll over.”
The Cyclones (10-5-3 overall) did not roll over as Lambert and his backline took every shot the Greene Devils threw at them and blocked every single one.
“Our effort in the second half was fantastic,” Lambert said. “That’s all I can ask for, is for us not to give up. We got a little bit down in the first half but we kept our effort levels high. It’s a great way to go into our next game and take that effort with us.”
The first half saw Greeneville put on an all-out effort with sophomore Drew Shelton scoring off a rebound of a shot by Brady Quillen that Lambert blocked but couldn’t hold on to. The rebound came to the left foot of Shelton and he did not miss giving the Devils a 1-nil lead.
Senior Sam Crawford scored in the eighth minute for Greeneville on a pass from Shelton for a 2-nil Greene Devils advantage. In the 13th minute, it was Blake Rogers scoring off another rebound of a hard shot by Cade Snelson.
Rogers goal made it a three-goal advantage and that’s the way the half ended. The second half saw the Cyclones successfully defend eight corner kicks with senior Braden Holly heading four of them away along with a stop with his chest on one occasion.
Fellow senior Kerry Williams and sophomore Dawson May had the most dangerous offensive adventure for EHS but it went for naught as May’s low shot was handled well by Greeneville senior goalkeeper Colby Freeman.
“When Kerry made that run Dawson was right there with him,” McClay said. “And if the ball bounces one way or the other Dawson is in on goal.
“In the first half, we had three golden looks. We hit the crossbar once and hit the post as well. Not so much in the second half, but Greeneville hunkered down and they are a good team, just look on the scoreboard how many state championships they have.”
EHS will have to travel to Sevier County next week for its region semifinal. Sevier County shut down Pigeon Forge with a 6-nil win and Pigeon Forge will play at Greeneville in its semifinal match.
District 1-AA championship
Elizabethton 0 0 – 0
Greeneville 3 0 – 3
G – Shelton (assist Quillen) 4:00
G – Crawford (assist Shelton) 8:00
G – Rogers (unassisted) 13:00
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