Pittman halts 'Betsy season with 2-0 win

By Michelle Pope
The Elizabethton girls soccer team finished its season Tuesday night when they lost 2-0 to Gatlinburg-Pittman at Bud Parton Field.
GP's first score of the game was a penalty kick by Lauren Everhart. Kelly Wilson scored the final point for the Lady Highlanders with on a long drive with just minutes left in the game.
Gatlinburg-Pittman goes into the region championship with nine wins, five losses, and two ties. The Lady Cyclones finished with nine wins, six losses, and two ties.
The play was balanced in the first half, with few shots from either team, as both defenses held their ground.
Ashley Green blocked a GP kick headed for goalkeeper Sophia Murillo early in the half. Sam McClay and Cassidy Hyatt fired two shots in a row at Pittman goalkeeper Mari Bales, but both were saved.
McClay soon kicked another shot that appeared to be headed for the net, but bounced off the top bar of the goal. Lady Highlander Carly Hatcher dribbled the ball into Elizabethton's scoring zone, but Murillo made a diving catch to stop the drive.
After a team effort of driving the ball down the field, McClay and Katie Presnell each bombarded GP's goal, but again, both balls were stopped. Kristen Gurskyj tried to fire at Elizabethton, but Presnell and Katie LaPorte guided the ball away just before the end of the half.
In the top of the second half, GP's Everhart went in for a shot, but it was deflected by Farrah Fritz. Leslie Blowers drove it away from Elizabethton's goal, but Sarah Russell and Everhart shot again, unsuccessfully, due to Murillo's repeated saves.
However, Everhart received a penalty kick, which went around Murillo for the game's first point.
"The game was pretty even," said Elizabethton coach Bill McClay. "I thought whoever got the first goal, it would probably be pretty big, and unfortunately, it came on a penalty kick. I thought we might have gotten one earlier, too. We did a pretty good job of denying any really good shots on the goal."
In the second half, a game that started aggressively turned hostile, as fouls flew in every direction. After three McClay shots, and a shot from Ashley Green, McClay went down on a play, and several seconds later, the game was halted. No foul was given to Pittman.
As tension rose on the field, it flourished in the stands.
"While we played the little touches and stuff, we were getting warnings from the referee that if you bump her again, I'm going to give you a card," Coach McClay said. "Meanwhile, I get two players in a row cut down from behind and there's no call. It's about trying to figure out how we're going to play."
As the seconds ticked down, and Elizabethton trailed behind GP, Lourean Hughes blocked a potential Pittman shot. Brie Gouge followed up with a shot at the Highlander goal, but Bales blocked it. McClay passed to Gouge just feet from scoring, but again, Bales swiped the ball and threw it to her team.
After a joint Pittman drive, Kelly Wilson broke away and took control, taking the ball the last 20 yards, and scoring on a swift kick. Elizabethton barely had time to drive it back down the field before the game ended in Gatlinburg-Pittman's favor, 2-0.
"I think it went great," said Carrie Gumlick, GP's coach. "It was a good game. It was a hard game. The girls pulled it out and I'm proud of them. Now we get to take it to the region championship on Thursday."