Second-half charge gives 'Betsy 2-2 tie

from staff reports

  KINGSPORT--When the Elizabethton Lady Cyclones decided to get tough on Thursday night, things started to go their way.
  As a result, Elizabethton was able to recover from a shaky first-half performance and walk away with a 2-2 non-district tie vs. Sullivan South in a high school soccer confrontation.
  "Basically, in the first half, we played rather timid," said Lady Cyclone coach Bill McClay, whose team went to the break trailing by a 2-0 score. "We needed to be more aggressive, and we came out played much better in the second half."
  Sullivan South got both of its goals from Leah Bishop, who first scored five minutes into the contest, then struck again at the 31-minute mark.
  Most of the second half, though, saw the ball being played on the Lady Rebels' end of the field, and Elizabethton took advantage.
  The Lady Cyclones cut the South lead in half at the 54th minute as Samantha McClay put the ball in the back of the intended net off an assist from Bri Gouge.
  Only nine minutes later, 'Betsy (1-1-1) made sure it wouldn't go down in defeat. Elizabethton had a shot deflect off the South crossbar and fall into the box, then, in a bit of a mad scramble, Mariah Francisco gained control of the ball and scored her first career goal.
  "She nudged it away from the defender and put it away with the next touch," Coach McClay said. "I was very happy with that."
  Coach McClay commended goalkeeper Sophia Murillo, who absorbed a fair share of physical punishment, for her performance in the net.
  Furthermore, the Lady Cyclones certainly pleased their coach with their ability to mount a comeback against a quality opponent.
  "I'm very pleased we came back," said Coach McClay. "Down 2-0, we showed a lot of the gutcheck type of thing you've got to do. All in all, it was pretty good."
  Elizabethton will open its district schedule this Tuesday, hosting Sullivan Central at 7 p.m.