Elizabethton opens season by making easy work of North

By Wes Holtsclaw

   KINGSPORT -- Trailing 5-0 after the first half of play, the Sullivan North boys soccer team was ready to hang up the cleats.
   After scoring contribution from four players, the Elizabethton Cyclones opened their 2004 season on the road in scoring fashion.
   Led by a pair of goals from Derek Slagle, the Orange and Black left Kingsport victorious with a 6-1 victory over the Golden Raiders.
   "We came out and did a couple of things we had talked about," said Elizabethton coach Bill McClay. "We wanted to have a team of scorers and we did that. We had four difference scorers tonight."
   "The team played pretty hard. I think our effort was a team effort and we went downward in the second half," he said. "You combine that with getting everyone into the match, which was good, and that's the reason we didn't continue the scoring."
   "We scored three goals off set pieces which was pretty good and I'm happy about that," he said. "It's a conference win, so we're 1-0. I'm pretty happy with it."
   Elizabethton got going early in the first half when Adam Green scored (7:00). Derek Slagle got his first goal of the game at the 14:00 mark after an assist from Drew LaPorte.
   Five minutes later, Robert Cogan got an assist from Green and quickly gave the Cyclones a lead that would be too tough to overcome.
   A Danny Thomas kick resulted in an Elizabethton goal at the 21:00 mark, and Ryan Gouge finished up the first half's scoring at 36:00 with a swift shot.
   Slagle got his second goal, unassisted, at 25:00 in the second half.
   "It's a good start," Slagle said. "It's a conference game and it gives us a little encouragement."
   "It was a strong start (for us) and we kind of let down a little (in the second half)," he said. "We want to do better than last season. We've got two more home games this week which will be a test."
   Sullivan North finally got on the board late in the second half after Elizabethton's Trey Snyder blocked an attempt. A bounce gave Kris Bledsoe room to squeeze it past the Cyclone goalie to prevent the shutout.
   For the match, Elizabethton got a strong effort out of Ben Carey, who only faced one shot, but came away with seven saves in the first half. Snyder had four saves in the second half for 'Betsy.
   McClay credits defense to the first half shutout.
   "His decisions he had to make were correct," the coach said of Carey. "The defense did a good job of keeping the ball away from the goal. We were unfortunate at the end. The way the ball bounces, if it bounces differently, they don't score."
   The Cyclones have a big week ahead, playing a home match against Chuckey-Doak on Thursday, then the junior varsity sets the stage for a big varsity contest against Dobyns-Bennett on Friday at Rider Field. Both varsity matches begin at 7 p.m.