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Blue Devil soccer team defeats Cocke County

Demecio Rodriquez heads the ball to a teammate against Cocke County. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

By Keeli Parkey

The Unicoi County High School boys soccer team battled to a tie, then ran away with a victory during last week’s prep action.

On March 27, the Blue Devils (2-1-1) traveled to Greene County to face the West Greene Buffaloes in non-conference action.

“Our whole team played really well,” Blue Devil head coach Justin Ciralsky told The Erwin Record. “I kept all 11 starters in the whole game to get some match related fitness in for the rest of the season and they played well. … It was the best team performance we have had all season. We dominated the game in possession and shots – we just simply couldn’t find the back of the net.”

UCHS ended the game in a 0-0 tie with the Buffaloes.

“We took 34 shots and 10 were on goal and none went in,” Ciralsky said. “The biggest takeaway from that game was our lack of finishing. They did extremely well on keeping the ball and possession. We did great winning the ball back when we lost it, but we couldn’t score any goals. … They have to earn the win and we failed to do that this game.”

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After struggling offensively in the early part of the first half, the Blue Devils didn’t have any trouble finding the back of the net when they hosted Cocke County on Thursday, March 29, in Erwin. UCHS won the non-conference contest, 7-2.

Things looked bleak in the opening minutes, as Cocke County took 1-0 lead.

“We started the game slow and lethargic,” Ciralsky said. “We have been scored on three times in the first couple minutes by teams. So, one thing we will work on going forward is starting the game with intensity and passion.” 

The Blue Devils, however, settled into the game and made adjustments on Thursday.

“Cocke County pulled lots of defense in around the box and it took the boys about 15 minutes to realize that the open space was on the outside,” Ciralsky said. “Once we started connecting passes to the outside it opened up the middle of the field and we were able to capitalize on that space. Daniel Meza scored a 30-yard shot and that forced the defense to step up a little bit. Then we simply used some combinations and two-touch passes to get in behind the defense.”

Scoring goals for UCHS on Thursday were Juan Ponce with 3; Meza with 2; Jacob Carver with 1; Armando Saldana with 1.

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The Blue Devils are scheduled to host KACHEA in Erwin on Thursday, April 5 at 6 p.m. UCHS will go on the road to face Volunteer in conference action on Tuesday, April 10.