Cyclones stymied by North in district final

By Ivan Sanders

   The Raiders came to Brown-Childress Stadium looking to prove their win against number one seed Central was not just a once in a lifetime fluke, while the Cyclones were hoping to take the District 1-AA title in front of the Cyclone faithful.
   By game's end, Sullivan North claimed its first ever district soccer championship and a home game in next week's regional tournament with a 3-0 win over Elizabethton.
   The win came on the strength of a second straight hat-trick game by Pat Adinolfi on Thursday evening, after performing the feat against Central on Tuesday.
   "We've never had a district championship, but now we have one," stated Adinolfi after the game. "That last shot was really luck because it went off of our opponent on a header and bounced right back to me after hitting the crossbar."
   Each team played stellar defense for the first 40:00 in a scoreless half, with Elizabethton having a couple of good chances to score only to come up short.
   One such instance was a zinger that Cyclone Gavin McKinney shot at the Raider goal only to have the ball ricochet hard off the crossbar and out of bounds.
   The second half started out with the Cyclones attacking aggressively, but Sullivan North making the most of its shots.
   North scored its first goal only eight minutes into the second half at the 48:00 mark on a header by Adinolfi that appeared to be snared by Cyclone goalie Ben Carey.
   Adinolfi had enough spin on the ball, though, to cause the ball to roll through Carey's fingers straight into the net for a 1-0 North lead.
   The Cyclones were denied two straight times at the 67:00 mark as Raider goalie Andrew Tunnell took a direct shot from McKinney that he knocked down.
   After rejecting the first shot, Tunnell took a shot in the chest from Charlie Crowe which he was able to wrap both hands around to prevent a Cyclone goal.
   Adinolfi took the wind out of the Cyclones sail at the 74:00 minute with his second goal of the contest. He was being challenged by Carey and Andy Ross in front of the Raider net where Adinolfi side-stepped both defenders to put the ball in the left corner of the net.
   "That second goal was probably the turning point of the game because you know you can score one goal to maybe go overtime, but having to score two goals is tough," said Cyclone coach Bill McClay.
   "Give them credit because they came here with 13 players who played hard against Central and turned around and played another hard game against us."
   Adinolfi's last goal came at the 78:00 minute to seal the title for the Golden Raiders.
   "I thought the win against Central was big, but this one was even bigger," stated North head coach Todd Carpenter. "These kids have worked hard in the snow and mud to show that North spirit, which is to fight to the end."
   Elizabethton will now be on the road Tuesday against the winner of the District 2-AA title.