Cyclones smother 'Blazers

By Michelle Pope
STAR STAFF
mpope@starhq.com

   GRAY--The Cyclone soccer team shut out Daniel Boone Friday evening in a 5-0 victory at the 'Blazer field.
   The Elizabethton offense got down to business early, as Eric Crowe scored at 7:45 and goalkeeper Ben Carey deflecting the Trailblazers, four shots on the goal.
   The Cyclones fired steadily throughout the match, making 26 shots on the goal and 18 at it. The win makes Elizabethton 3-1 in the conference and 5-5 overall.
   "The thing we've been preaching for the last week is that we lack focus," said Cyclone soccer coach Bill McClay. "When we played Crockett, we played very much like we did tonight, but midway through the game, we just seemed to lose our focus.
   That was our big psychological thing coming in tonight, was to maintain our focus throughout the whole game. We took a lot of shots, which we needed to do, and finally started to put them in."
   Twenty minutes into the game, Dylan Smith scored Elizabethton's second goal, and fired another shot less than a minute later. Smith dominated for several more minutes, driving to the 'Blazer goal time after time to keep the goalkeeper hopping.
   "I'm pretty happy," McClay said. "Generally, we moved the ball well and had lots of crosses. We possessed the ball well. Overall, we're a pretty decent team. It's hard to complain."
   Several minutes before the break, Ryan Gough kicked a shot over the net, and soon after, kicked one just under the crossbar, but the Boone goalkeeper made a leaping save to catch it inches below the crossbar. However, the persistent Cyclones refused to cave, and Justin Linebaugh scored the third goal for Elizabethton before the first half ended.
   "It was a good momentum builder because we have our final two conference games next Tuesday and Thursday," Coach McClay said of the win. "That'll set the stage for the playoffs, so this was an important win for that. Every win is big, but it helps momentum-wise going into next week."
   Elizabethton got to work early in the second half, as Gough scored for the Cyclones within the first ten minutes. Elizabethton made over 15 shots before they scored again in the last few minutes, led by E.J. Crowe. Around 32 minutes, Crowe kicked a shot that bounced off the top of the cross bar, and a couple minutes later, fired another one that barely sailed over the goal.
   However, the aggressive technique soon paid off when Derrick Slagle scored from a shaky cross kick to give Elizabethton five points.
   "It was on the corner kick, and he just came crashing the goal, and I think it went off his knee," McClay said. "I think he expected to hit it with his head but the ball went a little bit lower, and that's fine. If he's moving at the goal and it hits off of him, it's going to go in. That's more of the kind of things we need, because too often, I think we have a tendency to want to make it perfect. That's why we've been emphasizing just shooting.
   "The first goal we scored was because we went up and contested with the goalkeeper on that other corner kick," said McClay. "We went up to contest for the cross on the corner kick, and we scored on that corner kick and again, we scored on another corner kick. That tells me that the ball is in a good position and it's worth attacking the goal, which is what we've been after and not letting the defenders play the ball. We're the ones going out and making it happen."
   Elizabethton plays University High at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Civitan.