Cyclones falter against UH

By Allen LaMountain
ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
alamountain@starhq.com

   The University High Junior Buccaneers got off the winless slide, thanks to a pair of goals from sophomore Burl Williams, and handed the Elizabethton Cyclones a tough 2-1 loss on Thursday night at Brown-Childress Stadium.
   The loss saw 'Betsy fall to 1-4-1 overall (0-2-1 in conference play), while the Bucs improved to 1-4 (1-2) with the victory.
   "We definitely had more intensity than in past games," said Jr. Bucs head coach Bob Wolf. "It was huge to get on the board first. It was the key to the game. That first goal got us pumped up and we played well defensively."
   Williams tallied his first goal at the four-minute mark of the first half as a Cyclone defensive lapse saw Williams get loose on a breakaway and beat EHS goalkeeper David Poston.
   "My teammates fed me good passes all night," said Williams. "It was a big key for us, I think, to get that first (goal). We played good defense and our goalkeeper Brandon McKee did a good job. It was a good team effort all the way around. I hope this can be the start of a good run for us."
   After the Williams goal, 'Betsy saw a golden scoring opportunity go by the boards as John David Jativa got on a breakaway, but his shot went wide right of the goal. That would be a recurring theme in this contest as EHS put five shots wide of the goal, including a penalty kick from inside the box by Michael Tierney, in the first half alone.
   The Cyclones answered at the seven-minute juncture with a goal from Luke Carrier, who beat McKee low to his right. McKee got a hand on the blast from Carrier, but it glanced off his arm and into the net.
   A little over a minute later the Bucs struck again as the Cyclone defense failed to clear a shot in front of the box and University High's Mussab Hussein went to the baseline and sent a pass out front.
   A Cyclone defender headed the ball away from the goal, but not enough to clear it away from Williams, who beat Poston high this time for a 2-1 Bucs lead.
   Shortly thereafter Jativa had two shots on goal sandwiched around another Carrier shot, but McKee was up to the task in stopping all three scoring attempts.
   In the first half the Cyclones enjoyed a 4-3 advantage in shots on goal, but were still on the short end on scoreboard at the break.
   "We had a lot of chances," said Cyclones head coach Bill McClay. "It was pretty disappointing to give up those two early goals. There are stretches where we are able to play well and even dominate, but still not be able to get back in it."
   The second half saw the Cyclones go to full-attack mode, out shooting the Bucs six-to-two, but the Bucs defense, along with McKee were up to the task of shutting 'Betsy down when they had to.
   Chase Simerly nearly got the Cyclones even late in the second half, lobbing a shot over the head of McKee who leaped and grasped with the ball with the tips of his fingers.
   "I give our keeper a lot of credit, he made at least two key saves," said Wolf. "He positions himself well, and this win should give us a huge lift for our confidence the rest of the season."
   Markus Rybak and Williams had the only shot attempts for University High in the second half, while Simerly, Jonathan Cook, Tierney, Jativa and Carrier all had shots on goal for the Cyclones in the second half.
   Carrier's shot was on another Cyclone breakaway and was rushed just enough to scoot wide left and was the seventh shot at the University High net that 'Betsy pushed wide to one side or the other.
   "We had the penalty kick and at least three breakaways and didn't get anything in," said McClay. "This leaves a big hole confidence-wise, but we have shown we can play well for the most part. I think we have lost games, by our own lapses, but have not really been beaten."