Lady Bucs keep 'Betsy girls at bay

By Travis Brown
STAR Staff

   The Achilles heel of the Elizabethton Cyclone Lady Soccer program managed to post another win Thursday, as the University High Lady Junior Bucs defeated the 'Clones 4-1.
   Cyclone skipper Bill McClay was cautiously optimistic about his club in the first half.
   "We had the ball in good position in the first half, we made bad decisions and it cost us," said McClay.
   The Cyclones came out of the gate a little slow, and for the first five minutes of the first half were not playing to their potential. Thankfully some solid saves early from keeper Mary Gleason were enough to kick-start the 'Clones.
   The offense would suffer for most of the evening however, as solid Buccaneer defense coupled with the loss of two starters due to injury, were too tough to sustain a solid attack.
   Elizabethton began to show some skill as the halfway point of the first half drew near. Defensively the effort was improved by Ashley Green and Jessica Childers stepping up to keep the game scoreless.
   Despite the improved play, a long-range strike from Sarah Billingsby made it over Gleason to give University High the lead in the 23rd minute.
   The remainder of the first half would tick off without another score. Despite a solid midfield performance from Tracey Smith, Elizabethton went to the half trailing by one.
   The 'Clones were high on anticipation as the second half began. With adjustments made, Elizabethton took the field looking for the equalizer. However, the Bucs were ready with strong defense.
   In the 44th minute the Bucs put another score on the Cyclones. Sophomore Anna Floyd put one towards the far post and by the keeper to take a 2-0 lead.
   From that point on the Clones were forced to push the tempo and take some gambles. Strong defense from Green kept it close while Samantha McClay and Katie Presnell pushed the field.
   Elizabethton missed out on a solid opportunity when Ashley Mottern could not convert on a scoring opportunity early in the second half.
   Elizabethton soon surrendered another long goal while clearing a UH corner-kick opportunity. Stacey Keller lofted another long ball into the net and put the game away for all intensive purposes, 3-0.
   After Chelsea McGiver put the Bucs up 4-0, the pace for the 'Clones once again picked up. Due to the late push, Elizabethton got on the board thanks to a great individual effort by Samantha McClay.
   In the 35th minute, Samantha played the ball ahead and looked to have the breakaway, but was fouled from behind and given a free kick from 10 yards outside the penalty area.
   The resulting free kick was perfectly placed over the head of the keeper to get the 'Clones on the board 4-1.
   After the game Coach McClay was looking forward to next week's districts and his team's chances.
   "We came out flat in the second half," he said. "We have gotten the ball forward but we just didn't convert. We must do better next week."