Lady 'Clones cage Cougars

By Allen LaMountain

   A fast start was what the Elizabethton Lady Cyclones were looking for in their District 1-AA opening round playoff against Sullivan Central.
   That is just what they got as Katie Presnell hammered in the opening goal of the contest just five-minutes in, and Betsy cruised to a 5-0 white-washing of the Lady Cougars at Brown-Childress Stadium.
   Samantha McClay scored a hat-trick while Presnell and Leslie Blowers each added tallies as EHS took care of business in the opening round and will advance to the second round to face the winner of the University High / Sullivan North match.
   "We never got our offense going tonight," said Central head coach Sharon Abee. "We didn't get near enough shots to give ourselves a chance. We wanted to attack and keep it wide becasue we knew EHS has more speed than we do."
   Elizabethton poured it on offensively from the outset as Samantha McClay sent a crossing pass into the Lady Cougar goalbox and Presnell slammed a shot over the arms of Central goalkeeper Kandice Dotson.
   Just eight minutes later McClay put a left-footed blast to Dotson's low left side that sneaked across the line to give Betsy a two-nil advantage.
   "They didn't play as physical as some of the other games we've had lately," said McClay of her latest scoring binge that has seen her score seven goals in the last two matches. "That gave me a lot of room to dribble and look downfield."
   Betsy continued to press the attack as much of the first half was played almost exclusively in the Central end, and two-minutes after her first tally McClay aided in another Lady Cyclone goal.
   "She had a foot in every goal we scored tonight," said EHS head coach Bill McClay. "The last time we played Central we didn't score in the first half so tonight we talked about that. We wanted to press the attack and take it to them early and we did that."
   McClay sent a corner kick deep into the Central goalbox from where Blowers headed the ball past Dotson to give EHS a three-goal lead and McClay finshed off the first half with an unassisted tally at the 26-minute mark.
   Betsy led four-nil at the break after the McClay goal.
   "We have a very young team and a lot of these girls have to play different positions," said Abee. "That makes it tough when you fall behind as early as we did. We really have no feeder program to get youngsters involved in soccer. We get them for four years and that's it."
   Sideline referee Bill Maynard suffered an attack of low-blood sugar on the sideline in the first half and play was halted for nearly 25-minutes as the rescue squad tended to Maynard. He would be fine and play continued with a substitute ref.
   The second half saw lots of substitutions for Betsy as play got a bit ragged, but McClay scored one more time before time expired as she took advantage of a mistake in the Central end.
   After clanging a blast off the top goalpost Dotson punted, but it wasn't a good one as it went off the side of her foot and McClay dribbled in and snapped off a hard shot that hit nothing but net.
   "We didn't want to end our season tonight," said McClay. "We knew we would have to get up for this one and not get caught flat-footed. Once we got on the board it was like an avalanche from there."
   EHS notes : McClay continues to pour in goals as she once again led the Region in scoring with 22 regular season tallies and three in the playoffs - along with two assists - give her a total of 56 points on the season.