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Blue Devil soccer team begins conference play with wins, loss

Martin Porras takes possession of the ball during a recent game. (Erwin Record File Photo)

By Keeli Parkey

After weeks of non-conference competition, the Unicoi County High School boys soccer team (5-2-1, 2-1) recently began league play with games against Volunteer, Sullivan Central and Greeneville.

The Blue Devils went on the road on April 10 and defeated the Volunteer Falcons, 5-0.

“It was a great conference win,” UCHS head coach Justin Ciralsky said. “The whole team played well. They overcame some rough field conditions to capitalize on the win. The guys were excited to get a big conference win, especially for the first game.”

Scoring for the Blue Devils at Volunteer were Martin Porras, Leroy Valdez, Juan Ponce and Armando Saldana.

The Blue Devils earned a 4-1 home victory over Sullivan Central on April 17.

“Juan Ponce scored three goals and Daniel Meza played great in the midfield,” Ciralsky said.

Ciralsky’s team suffered its first conference loss of the season at Greeneville on April 19; it was the team’s first loss since March 15. The Blue Devils fell 7-0.

“Miguel Vasquez played great in the goal,” Ciralsky said. “Although we got scored on, he made some great saves throughout the night. This was a great learning experience for him. Jacob Carver also played great defense.”

The head coach also said his team is still working to improve.

“We have the right ideas, but we are still struggling to execute them and take full advantage of them,” he explained. “Our passes are just a little off, and our first touch is still off and, especially in the Greeneville game, they exploited those mistakes and it really cost us. Our goal in every game is to continue moving forward. We want to build off past success and learn from previous mistakes. So far the boys are doing well with that each game.”

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The Blue Devils were scheduled to host Sullivan South in league play on Tuesday, April 24, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline for this issue. They will host Anderson County in Erwin on Thursday, April 26, at 6 p.m. and go on the road to face Cocke County on Friday, April 27, at 6 p.m. in non-conference play.

The Blue Devils will play their final game of the season against conference foe Elizabethton on the road on Tuesday, May 1, at 6 p.m.