Lady Cyclones advance, 5-1

By Allen LaMountain


&nbsp  After finishing the regular season with a best ever 10-5 mark, the Elizabethton Lady Cyclones proved that they weren't going to rest on their laurels in the District tournament opener, as they dominated the Sullivan Central Lady Cougars at Brown-Childress Stadium on Monday night by a 5-1 score.
&nbsp  The win sends the Lady Cyclones to a 5:30 p.m. meeting on Thursday with top seed University High at the Liberty Bell soccer complex in Johnson City, and a trip to the Regional playoffs for the first time in team history.
&nbsp  A cold and drenched coach Bill McClay was happy with the effort of his squad saying, "It's a good win, our first playoff win ever," said McClay after being doused with the traditional ice water bucket. "We let down a little bit after we got up 2-0, but I was happy with the way they played."
&nbsp  Freshman sensation Samantha McClay scored with an assist by Ashley Green in the 39th minute of the first half, and Green followed up her assist with a goal of her own midway through the first half, which was assisted on by Sondra Hinman.
&nbsp  Just 30 seconds after Green's tally however, the Lady Cougars took advantage of a breakdown in the Cyclone defense as Hannah Booher broke loose on the right side and blasted a shot low past EHS keeper Mary Gleason to make it a 2-1 contest.
&nbsp  "She's really our only scorer up front," said Lady Cougar head coach Sharon Abee. "We played smart defense, but we're outmanned and we need a little more strength. Booher runs hard, but overall we lack team speed."
&nbsp  With the first half winding down, sophomore Katie Presnell scored off a rebound that was set up on a corner kick from Green to give the Lady Cyclones a 3-1 lead at the break.
&nbsp  The second half saw the Cyclones put the clamps on defensively, playing solid defense in the middle of the field, to deny the Cougars any chance to rally.
&nbsp  McClay netted her second goal of the contest at the 13-minute mark of the second half, and Tracey Smith tacked on additional insurance for Betsy nine minutes later for the final tally of the contest.
&nbsp  "I don't know how she got that one to go in," commented an astonished McClay. "She had no angle whatsoever on it, but hey we'll take it."
&nbsp  Even Smith herself was baffled by how the shot went in but was tickled to get a score regardless. The play began with a group of players around the left side of the Cougar goal, and Smith sent a shot from the keepers left, all the way across the goal to the far side of the net, just inside the far post.
&nbsp  Smiling as she came off the field Smith commented, "I don't know how that one went in coach."
&nbsp  The Lady Cyclones had some worries coming into the contest with Whitney Brown and Sarah Smith both out with leg injuries, but EHS was able to play an aggressive attacking game nonetheless, with several young players contributing.
&nbsp  Jessica Childers played a solid game in the mid-field as she stopped several rush attempts by Central. Abby Bremmer was solid in the backfield along with senior Johanna Meyerhoff.
&nbsp  In the second half Green switched over to defense, and did a solid job, stopping several Central advantages with her exceptional speed to the ball.
&nbsp  "We got to get everybody in the game that could play," said McClay. "The girls will need to pick up the intensity against UH, but I think we'll be ready. We can't afford any lapses in these next games."
&nbsp  Cyclone notes : Smith and Brown could both be back for Thursday's contest against University High. Both were still limping and unable to play on Tuesday, but both hoped to be ready for the Lady Bucs. Game time is 5:30 p.m. at Liberty Bell in Johnson City.