Cougars Take Wind out of Cyclones

By Allen LaMountain
ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
awlamountain@starhq.com

   A young and unseasoned Elizabethton Cyclone soccer team had to deal with a young yet veteran Sullivan Central squad on Thursday night at Brown-Childress Stadium.
   The result saw the Cougars junior mid-fielder Colin Campbell scored his second consecutive Betsy hat-trick as Sullivan Central (2-1, 1-0 conference) won 3-0.
   "It's always an intense rivalry when we play here," said Campbell who tallied his first three scores of the young season. "I was getting excellent serves from the mid-fielders, which allowed me to get turned and get off good shots. You have to work your hardest against (EHS) but I got good passes and put them away."
   The initial 25 minutes seemed to be an extended feeling out period as neither team had any significant scoring opportunities with Central's Bucky Buchanan having the best scoring chance sail over the top crossbar.
   At the 27-minute mark Taylor Culberson fed Campbell at the top of the scoring box where he wheeled left - evaded an attempted slide tackle by Betsy sophomore Kyle Germaine and netted his first goal of the game and the season.
   Cyclone goalkeeper Charlie Crowe did an outstanding job of hanging tough while only surrendering three goals despite being peppered by a total of 14 Cougar shots on goal.
   "He'll feel a little battered tomorrow," commented Cyclone head coach Bill McClay. "He challenged every shot and he took a few. I thought he played well, though he got pretty beat up."
   Campbell struck once again at the 30-minute mark of the first half, this time taking advantage of a lapse in the Cyclone backline as Jeff Alman tried a crossing pass that was a little tentative and Campbell pounced.
   Just to Crowe's left - and from about seven feet out - he blasted a low shot crosswise that ended up in the far lower corner to stake the Cougars to a two goal lead.
   Campbell's third tally was once again initiated by Culberson as he gained control of the ball at midfield and lofted a rainbow pass 15-yards downfield where Campbell gained possession and drove toward the Betsy goal.
   This time Campbell beat Crowe with his left foot at the 37-minute mark as the Cougars took a three-to-nothing halftime advantage.
   "Once Colin got that goal it gave us a lift," said Cougars head coach Joe McPherson. "After the first 25 minutes I thought we created a lot of scoring chances for ourselves. The first 25 minutes we didn't finish very well. Bucky (Buchanan) I thought had a heck of a game also. He stretched the defense and made run after run. He played as good a game as you can play without scoring a goal."
   He came close though - twice in fact - but one goal was called back on a penalty and the second was for an offside.
   "He had one called back because the ref said he pushed off with his arm," said McPherson. "I think it was on the keeper, and the next one was an offside. I think the second half could have been better, we need to stay on the attack even with a lead."
   Early in the second half EHS had its best chance taken away by a sliding stop by Cougar keeper Daniel Graves on a breakaway by Cyclone Gavin McKinney.
   McKinney had taken possession near the top of the box and with only one Cougar defender between him and the goal, Graves made a daring save by coming out of the net to stop the shot attempt.
   Robert Cogan had two slight scoring chances in the latter stages as EHS finished with just four shots on goal for the night.
   "I think at times when young guys get burned at one end they get tentative at the other end," said McClay. "Central at this stage is more technically sound than we are. We're not at the stage yet where everyone knows where everyone else will be, but I think it will come together once we find the optimal positioning for everybody."
   The Cyclones (1-2, 0-1) take on Dobyns-Bennett in Kingsport tonight with match time 7 p.m.