EHS Cyclones Soccer season comes to an end, upset by Unicoi

Published 4:35 pm Thursday, May 11, 2023

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By Ron Marvel
Star Correspondent
The Elizabethton Cyclones Boys Soccer team saw its season come to a close this week as they were upset at home by the Unicoi Blue Devils 3-1. It was a game they statically dominated, but a couple of lapses defensively would end the Cyclones season. Down 1-0 after a bouncing ball squeezed between the hands of Cyclones goalkeeper Mason Williams. The Blue Devils would pick up another goal midway at the 17-minute mark as Blue Devil forward Michael Bandera would be taken down on a hard tackle in the penalty box. The Cyclones would answer with a goal of their own at the 33-minute mark of the second half as Riley Vernon would break free 10 yards out off an assist from Connor Blevins. Vernon’s shot would find the back of the net on the high left side of the goal to make it 2-1 Unicoi.
The second half would see the Cyclones have the wind to their back and have numerous opportunities to tie the game. However, sensing the momentum shift, the Blue Devils would “park the bus,” sending extra defenders to their half of the field. Eli Williams would have a great look but send the ball just over the crossbar at the 20-minute mark and Vernon would get another shot on goal, but Blue Devil goalkeeper Zeke Whitson would get a hand on the ball at the last moment for the save. Unicoi would ice the game with just 10 minutes left as Unicoi would race down the field on a breakaway and once again be pulled down in the box for another penalty kick; this one would just slip by the outstretched hands of Williams to make it 3-1.
Williams would have a couple nice saves in the game and have several long kicks to give the Cyclones scoring opportunities in the game.  Senior Dawson May also would have a nice game on both sides of the ball. Stats wise, the Cyclones would outshoot the Blue Devils 18-6 and have an advantage in corner kicks 4-2 and a huge advantage in time of possession. The Cyclones would unfortunately also have the advantage in fouls called against them 15-8. After the game, EHS first year head coach Doug Schultz would reflect back on his first season.  “It’s unfortunate that our season ended last night.  Without question, they  (Unicoi) played their best game of the season.  If you looked at the time of possession, scoring chances, and shots on goal, it would seem obvious that we would’ve come out on top, but we didn’t.  The stat that matters in the end is goals scored, and we lost that one.  For the seniors, thank you!  This first year was not always easy, but your leadership and maturity was what kept me and the team energized.  You will be missed.  I hope that your love for the game grew this year and that you stay involved in the sport well into adulthood, whether playing, coaching, or just being a fan!  For the players returning and those coming up, we are trying to build the soccer culture in Elizabethton.  My objective in the off season is to reach out to as many youth and coaches possible to share our principles.  We ask the community for your support as we move forward,” Shultz shared.

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