Exasperating one goal losses the last two seasons in the district / region AA semifinals have the Elizabethton Cyclones soccer team looking to take things up a notch in 2012.
Last season came to a rain drenched halt at Civitan Park in Johnson City as University High ended the Cyclones season with a 2-1 overtime victory in a game the Cyclones dominated for much of the contest.
“It’s been the semifinals that have done us in,” commented Cyclones head coach Bill McClay. “In the last two semis we really had outplayed our opponent, but one year we didn’t score and the next we had a goal disallowed and lost in overtime. Essentially that’s two sub-state trips we missed out on.”
Senior Raphael Teixeira has scored goals in the scrimmage with David Crockett last Tuesday and in this past Tuesday’s loss at Tennessee High, and knows a lot of the offense will run through him.
“I feel pretty sure that overall we will be a good team this year,” Teixeira said. “I feel confident that I can do my part to help the team. This is almost the same team as last year with a little more experience. I think that fact altogether will make us better.”
Across the attacking line up front EHS starts Teixeira in the middle along with Tasa Mushayamunda sophomore Austin Vannoy and senior Devin Clark.
The middle line is comprised of sophomore Darion Simerly, senior Ashton Stevens, freshman Issac Fife and Logan Birchfield.
Among those in the defensive back line are senior Will Arnold and junior Bobby Holt. At goalkeeper, the starter going into the season was sophomore Jerry Ludrowski but Ludrowski asked out of the Tennessee High contest and was replaced by junior Luke Broyles near the end of the first half.
Broyles performed well given his inexperience and coach McClay stated, “I’m comfortable going forward with the players I have here.”
Teixeira is the leading goal scorer from last season and thus far he has shown speed, quickness and a strong, accurate kicking leg and has tallied three goals in pre-season and one in the season opener at the Stone Castle.
Mushayamunda played extensively as a sophomore and is a return starter and he expects improvement from himself and the team as the season winds its way through spring.
“I expect us to improve with each and every game we play,” Mushayamunda said. “Last night was a big learning experience for us, but I expect us to compete in our conference and Greeneville in our region. We have to play as a team and not concern ourselves with individual things, but only be concerned with how we play collectively.”
Two big obstacles in the Cyclones way are conference foes Chuckey- Doak and University High, who are two aggressive opponents who play to the final whistle.
Both teams knocked EHS out the last two seasons respectively and the Cyclones are looking to change the outcome this season.
“One of the main reasons for playing so many games against triple-A schools are getting the same pace as they set,” said McClay. “This year for example we play Crockett, Science Hill, Tennessee High last night, Daniel Boone. Playing against teams like that becomes a huge learning experience.
“It teaches us something about how the team performs and about how individual players perform under game conditions.”
The Cyclones (0-1 overall) will face Kachea (Kingsport Area Christian Home Education Association) today at Brown-Childress Stadium with game time set for 6 pm.
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2012 Elizabethton Cyclone
Boys Soccer schedule
13 @Tennessee High L, 1-9
15 KACHEA 6 p.m.
20 COSBY 6 p.m .
22 @Crockett 6 p.m.
3 CUMBERLAND GAP 6 p.m.
5 @Grainger 6 p.m.
6 @Daniel Boone 6 p.m.
10 @University School 6 p.m.
12 CLAIBORNE CO. 6 p.m.
17 CHUCKEY-DOAK 6 p.m.
19 @Greeneville 6 p.m.
23 @Science Hill 6 p.m.
24 SOUTH GREENE 6 p.m.
26 SULLIVAN CENTRAL 6 p.m.
30 @Kachea 6 p.m.
3 @Sullivan South 6 p.m.
7-19 Postseason Tourneys