Cyclones blank Sullivan South

By Allen LaMountain

   Coming off a big win over David Crockett on Friday night, the last thing the Elizabethton Cyclones wanted was to lose their newfound momentum against Sullivan South on Monday night.
   Thanks to a large dose of 'sharing the wealth', the Cyclones (3-4-3) got goals from three different scorers and assists by three others, in what was the best offensive showing for 'Betsy this season, in a 3-0 whitewashing of the Rebels at Brown-Childress Stadium.
   John Jativa, Sandy Nave and Luke Carrier each tallied goals, while Michael Tierney, Jonathan Cook and Lincoln Orellana assisted in what was a solid display of team ball handling and passing by EHS.
   "It's the second half season, time to step up," said Jativa. "These are big games, and especially Thursday night against Central. We have to be ready to play, and play for 80 minutes. We put out more than we had all season tonight, and we have been better, but we have to give 80 against Central."
   Jativa got 'Betsy on the scoreboard at the 27-minute mark of the first half, heading in a corner kick by Tierney, who has shown a knack for putting the ball where team mates have a chance, and gave EHS a one goal lead.
   In the first half Elizabethton outshot South 4-3, but once again EHS controlled the middle of the field, and by contests end 'Betsy had topped the Rebels 13-5 in shots on goal for the game.
   "They beat us to a lot of balls in the middle," said Rebels head coach Mike Kelly. "They were bigger than us, and that does matter to an extent. But we have a young team and it's been a learning experience this year."
   'Betsy opened the second half on the attack and at the 50-minute mark Nave made a heads up play on a breakaway by Cook to knock in the Cyclones second tally of the contest.
   Cook made a move past South's Steve Starnes and drove toward South net minder Alec Strickland, letting go a solid left-footed shot inside the box that hit the near post and ricocheted to Nave who drove it home.
   "It felt good to go in," said Nave. "I've struggled to finish all year long. My guys have given me lots of opportunities, but finishing is something I have struggled with. I caught a good break tonight with that shot going off the post."
   With seven minutes remaining Orellana went on the attack letting loose a blast that Strickland caught waist high, but his clearing kick was controlled in the midfield by Andy Ross, who headed the ball to Orellana.
   Orellana then found Carrier in the box, and Carrier drove one low and to Strickland's left for the goal that sealed victory the for the Cyclones.
   "Everybody is stepping up now," Nave said. "Mike's got his shot back, John David's playing well, Ross and the defense played good. I think we're getting close to our peak potential, we're playing strong."
   The win gives the Cyclones a two-game win streak, and EHS hasn't lost in its last four games, since a 2-1 loss to University High.
   "We still have return games against everybody in the conference," Cyclone head coach Bill McClay said. "The first three (conference) games we didn't show very well, but we get a shot at them again. It was good to get three (goals) tonight, Jonathan got himself open and put a good shot on goal, and Sandy made the play. Our outside halfbacks have given us good width across the field, but I thought we got a little lax on defense in the last few minutes.
   "One of our goals coming into this game was to get a shutout and defensively we played well enough to get it, but South never quit, not even in the last minute."
   South had two good scoring opportunities in the waning minutes with the best one being a breakaway by Joey Misiagna, who took a pass from Brandon Willingham in the mid-field and raced toward Betsy keeper David Poston.
   Misiagna's shot went wide right, however, leaving the Rebels feeling a bit snake bitten and certainly frustrated.
   The Rebels fell to 1-6-1 with the loss, but Kelly isn't writing off the season yet, saying: "We haven't gotten down and haven't quit in any game we've played, but we realize that we aren't trying to play for next season."