Lady Cyclones solve University High, 1-0

By Allen LaMountain

ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
awlamountain@starhq.com

   With a determined and sustained effort on Tuesday night, the Elizabethton Lady Cyclones scratched one more thing off their to-do list. That thing they needed to do was to finally beat University High.
   Ashley Green tallied the only goal of the night, and a strong defensive effort and three great saves by goalkeeper Maria Francisco helped 'Betsy hold off the Lady Buccaneers 1-0 at Brown-Childress Stadium.
   Green's goal came three minutes into the second half and was the result of a nice give-and-go pass from Green to freshman Shayna Borland and back to Green, who beat Lady Bucs goalkeeper Elizabeth Burke to her low left side.
   "I played the ball through to Shayna, who made a run in the middle," said Green. "She made a nice pass back to me and I shot it barely inside the far post. We have been waiting forever to beat them."
   The win evens the Lady Cyclones record at 5-5 (2-1 conference) while the Lady Bucs suffered just their second defeat of the season.
   University High (7-2, 4-1) lost only to Science Hill in its eight previous games and coach Val Love wasn't pleased with the effort.
   "It looked like we were playing tennis out there," he said. "Just hitting the ball back and forth and not a real solid effort. We need to bring to the field what we work on in practice."
   The first half was a scoreless affair with University High managing three shots on 'Betsy's goal as a stubborn and tenacious defense, led by Abby Bremer, held firm against good Buccaneer pressure.
   Sophomore Abby Jenkins turned in a solid effort on the backline in the first half before having to sit out the second half with a foot injury, but Leslie Blowers put in a good effort as her replacement.
   "The girls put in an 80-minute effort," said coach Bill McClay. "They didn't wait for the game to come to them. Even though we didn't score in the first half, I thought we had such an even effort at both ends that we were still okay. The goal was textbook, with Shayna seeing Ashley making a run and Ashley kicked it the way she should -- to the far post away from the keeper."
   Green's goal lifted a tiring Cyclone squad and gave them a tremendous shot of momentum, but the win itself was anything but determined as Francisco needed to make a sprawling save off an indirect kick in the goal box to keep 'Betsy in the lead.
   Lady Bucs' junior Anna Floyd, who scored a hat-trick in UH's early win over EHS in the opening game of the season, had the ball on her foot to Francisco's left and ripped a low shot that Francisco covered up nicely.
   "I thought she would go low on that shot," said Francsico. "That really scared me, but I was in good position and just covered it up as quick as I could. I try to make a habit of covering up every loose ball. It was purely a reaction save."
   The sophomore would make one more stellar save, and with a bit of luck turned in a shutout victory. With 15-minutes left in the contest Bremer made her only miscue of the night as she failed to clear a ball in the box and UH's Stacey Keller pounced.
   Keller's shot sailed high and over the top post, however, as 'Betsy dodged a bullet, and with just seconds left in the match Chelsea Maefver sent a blast on net that Francisco dove to her right for and was able to deflect the shot away.
   "I'm glad Sammy (McClay) was there to turn it back upfield," said Francisco. "I didn't really know where the post was, but I was hoping I knocked it wide enough. This is a pretty big win for us."
   EHS notes: The Lady Cyclones take on conference rival Sullivan Central on Thursday night at Brown-Childress, with game time set for 7.