Tie with UH keeps 'Betsy in first place

By Tim Chambers
star staff

  They say a tie is like kissing your sister, but for the Elizabethton Lady Cyclone soccer team, it was the next best thing to a win.
  The Cyclones battled for two halves before walking away with a 1-1 tie against arch rival University High Saturday afternoon at Dave Rider Field.
  Elizabethton controlled the match the entire game, earning 20 shots on goal to three for University High. Harmony Creek, goalie for UH came up with some tremendous saves, as did Sophia Murillo, goalie for Elizabethton.
  "I try to be like a coach on the field," Murillo said. "I was trying to prevent UH from scoring and set my teammates up with good field position."
  Elizabethton got several opportunities to score, but when senior standout Samantha McClay would break away from the pack a UH player would trip her up, which proved to be good strategy by the Bucs.
  "They ran a box on me the entire afternoon," McClay said. "I knew it would be hard to get some open looks."
  McClay put Betsy on top at the 23:17 mark in the first half with a goal from around 32 yards out on a nice assist from Karin Kitchens.
  "We knew it was important to score first and Karin did a good job of setting me up," McClay said. "That goal seem to give us the energy we needed."
  The Jr. Bucs wasted no time tying the score, with Yvette Baselone launching a baseline goal at the 22:37 mark.
  "We just lost our focus for a few minutes after the score and it cost us," said Cyclone head coach Bill McClay. "We made some adjustments at halftime and gave them a different formation look that put some pressure on their fullbacks."
  Indeed, the offense of University High was like that of a stubborn fish, getting near the net only one time in the second half. Abbie Jenkins had a great game, turning the Jr. Bucs away on several occasions by kicking the ball out of bounds and allowing the Cyclone defense to get back in good position.
  "I thought our backfield did well today," Jenkins said. "We kept the ball up front for most of the day."
  Elizabethton had three good opportunities to score in the second half but kicks by Leslie Blowers, Brianne Gouge and McClay just missed the mark.
  "It was a great game by two teams who gave it everything they had," said University High athletic director Tony Gordon, who was filling in as coach for the Jr. Bucs. "It was a good job by both teams."
  "We did everything we could have done to won the game," added Cyclone coach Bill McClay. "Our team just had trouble finding the net today."
  With the tie, Elizabethton remains atop the standings in District 1-A/AA.