Elizabethton, North play to scoreless tie

By Allen LaMountain

   An already offensively-challenged Elizabethton Cyclone squad saw its firepower diminished greatly with an injury to midfielder Gavin McKinney in 'Betsy's 10-0 loss in Morristown.
   On Thursday night at Brown-Childress Stadium, McKinney's injury loomed large -- as did the gusting winds -- as the Cyclones and Sullivan North battled to a scoreless draw.
   "He's day-to-day with an MCL injury," said Cyclones head coach Bill McClay. "We were against the wind in the first half and that was real tough. I'm glad we didn't give up something the other way. We moved the ball better in the second half, but there are still too many touches on the ball."
   Betsy opened the season strong with a 3-2 win over David Crockett, but have lost four straight with the draw thrown in the mix. EHS has not put a ball in the nets since however and stand 1-4-1 overall (0-1-1 conference). Sullivan North stands 2-1-1 (0-0-1 conference).
   With the wind at their backs in the first half, the Golden Raiders fired seven shots at EHS goalkeeper Ben Carey, but he was up to the task, turning away each of them.
   Raider striker Matt Donihe had four shots in the first half with North's best scoring chance of the night going wide left as Donihe broke into the Cyclone goalbox with two defenders to his left, but still at least 10 feet away.
   "I think (Donihe) hurried it a little bit," said North head coach Todd Carpenter. "He rushed in and had a good look but may have pushed it. We are pretty banged up right now. We had 18, now were down to 14."
   Donihe's shot was a bit too strong and it also had a hook to it that carried it past the left goal post and a diving Carey, as EHS dodged a bullet early.
   The Golden Raiders held a seven-to-one shots on goal advantage in the first half, but things got better for Betsy as the Cyclones got the wind at their backs in the second half.
   Robert Cogan put three shots on the Raider net in the early going of the second half, but Betsy's best scoring chance came off the foot of freshman Ryan Gough.
   Gough sent a blast from the edge of the goalbox, just to the left of center, but his shot carried over the top crossbar and was easily the hardest shot EHS sent at the North goal all night.
   Jeff Alman also sent a strong kick over the top crossbar in the second half as EHS poured the pressure on the Raiders senior keeper Andrew Tunnell.
   Tunnell turned away six Cyclone shots in the second half, including a corner kick by sophomore Brian Freeman that saw Tunnell leap and snag the ball amongst a crowd of Cyclones.
   "EHS had a lot of chances, especially on their corner kicks," said Carpenter. "These guys have a lot of heart. We may not be very technically precise, but we play hard all the time. For us to come in here and get a point - I'll take it."
   The Cyclones didn't not allow a Raider shot on goal in the second half, but simply could not get a clean shot at the Raider goal.
   "We have our heads down too much," said McClay in trying to explain why his team is struggling to score. "You have to be able to see an opportunity to make a run. In most cases we are waiting until the ball is kicked and then it's too late. Then we are just chasing the ball. It's a little frustrating, but you have to get through it.
   "It's a conference game, but it's not a loss, so in that respect I'm happy. We had three goals in the first game and nothing since. That's the most frustrating thing."