Lady Bucs trim EHS

By JEFF BIRCHFIELD
STAR STAFF

   JOHNSON CITY -- University High (6-1-4) edged Elizabethton (10-5) by the score of 1-0 Thursday night in girls' soccer action at Winged Deer Park.
   "I felt really good about what I saw," said Lady Junior Buc coach Bob Wolfe. "It was a big difference (from the first of the season). Elizabethton played better than they did the first game. You have to give them credit for that.
   "I drilled into the girls this whole week that this was the most important game of the season. They showed it. They came out and played well. They proved that we could play."
   Despite a losing effort, the match showed remarkable improvement for EHS. University High spanked the Lady Cyclones 8-3 on their home field in the season-opener that Wolfe referred to.
   "I can look at it both ways," said Cyclone coach Bill McClay in response to a reporter's question about coming so close this time around. "I'm glad we acquitted ourselves as well as we did. Sure, we would have liked to have won. We held them to one goal and that basically was a communication mistake on the back. The fullback and goalie didn't really communicate on how to play the ball.
   "When you make a mistake in the back, you usually have to pay for it. But, that was it. Defensively, they had some hard shots, most of them outside the box. I was real happy with the way we played defensively. Where we suffered was trying to move the ball offensively."
   Elizabeth Barefield scored the only goal of the match when she split two Lady Cyclone defenders, kicking the ball in the net.
   "I just ran as hard as I could and kept up with the ball," said Barefield, a junior for UH. "I just kicked it as hard as I could."
   Elizabethton couldn't find an answer making shots. They played without the services of center halfback Sarah Smith, who injured her right ankle in pre-game warmups. Smith's abscence allowed the Lady Junior Bucs to double team EHS leading scorer Samantha McClay and keep her from posting any serious scoring threat.
   "She never was in the game," said coach McClay about his injured star. "If you think about it, the center midfielder is like the swivel of the team. A lot of stuff emotionally and physically goes off of her. I'm happy with the way they adjusted with that. Farrah (Fritz) and Abby (Bremer) came in a did a pretty good job in a position that they hadn't been playing."
   Ashley Mottern and Tracey Smith also stepped up play for the Lady Cyclones to help alleviate some of the void. "It's Ashley's first year playing and she has a lot of enthusiasm," said McClay. "She's the one who got the first goal Tuesday night against Morristown East, bascially beacuse she went straight at the goal. When she learns more about the game, she will be dangerous, because she has good speed and size.
   "Tracey has been playing real well. She played a lot in the middle tonight, because she's more comfortable on the inside."
   Jessica Childers and Ashley Green also contributed heavily as their hustle kept play around the middle of the field and forced the Junior Bucs into a defensive mode. "We outhustled them some of the time," McClay remarked. "They're probably as physical a team as we play. Size-wise, they're a little bigger than us. At the beginning of the game, they were beating us up.
   "It seemed after a while, we played more of the game in their half (of the field), but never really up against the goal. We had two or three good chances at shots, but only got one off."
   The Lady Cyclones stayed alive in the contest until the final horn sounded. They even had a chance to tie the game moments before time expired, but junior Sondra Hinman's mid-range kick went wide right.
   District playoff action begins next Monday with the Lady Cyclones hosting Sullivan Central at Brown-Childress Stadium. The winner of that game advances to face University High next Thursday night in Johnson City, while the loser will see its season come to a sudden halt.