UH spoils Lady Cyclone opener

By Allen LaMountain

   JOHNSON CITY -- University High used an early Elizabethton miscue to give the Lady Buccaneers a shot of momentum that carried them to a 3-1 win over the Lady Cyclones at Winged Deer Park.
   It was the opening game of the season for both squads, and initial nervousness was evident on both sides in the early going, but University High was the first to shake off the early-season jitters.
   Anna Floyd scored the first goal of the contest -- on her way to her first hat-trick -- at the six-minute mark as EHS goalkeeper Maria Francisco saw a rebound get away from her and Floyd was there to pounce on the mistake.
   "It was just being at the right place at the right time," said Floyd. "Tonight we did a good job on defense. Not marking up, we could have done better at that, but overall good defense."
   That defense held 'Betsy to one shot on goal in a first half that saw the Lady Bucs clinging to a 1-0 lead despite outshooting the Lady Cyclones by a 6-1 margin.
   "Everybody was standing still in the first half," said Cyclones head coach Bill McClay. "They caught us flat-footed. We had several good passes into space, but everyone was kind of looking around. We had several corner kicks in the first half, so that showed we were playing in their end quite a bit."
   EHS failed to capitalize on four corner kicks as the UH defense was able to prevent the 'Betsy attackers from getting a foot on the ball within the goal box.
   "We have been working real hard on movement off the ball," said Lady Bucs head coach Valerie Love. "We did a good job of making the transition from defense to offense also. I was so proud of (Floyd's) second goal, because that started from the defensive end."
   In the second half 'Betsy just missed knotting the score on a direct kick by Samantha McClay from about 30 yards out, but UH keeper Harmony Creek made a saving catch.
   The Lady Bucs then took the attack the other way. Francisco, though, turned away a shot by Stacey Keller and survived a corner kick and shot by Keller that went wide.
   But in the ensuing exchange, deep in the Lady Bucs' end of the field, Floyd got loose on the far side and two passes later she drove a low shot to Francisco's right side at give University High a two-goal lead.
   "Everyone was so keyed up that I think we were prone to some nervous errors," said McClay. "Once we got into the second half I think we played a lot better. The shots evened out more and I think the girls feel that we can play with UH."
   McClay got the Lady Cyclones on the scoreboard at the 66-minute mark of regulation on a penalty kick that beat Creek to her low, left-hand side.
   Floyd still had one more good run left in her before cramping in her calves forced her out of the game with four minutes left, as Keller blasted a shot that Francisco stopped, but the rebound slipped away and Kelly Foster put a touch pass to Floyd in the crease, and she drilled it home.
   EHS notes: The Cyclones will take on Sullivan Central on Thursday, with the contest being played at Holston Middle School in Blountville. Game time will be at 5:30 p.m.