By Keeli Parkey
The Unicoi County High School boys soccer team battled their way through a tournament last weekend.
After playing two games earlier in the week, the Blue Devils (1-4) traveled to Kingsport to play in the Jon Metcalf Highland Cup hosted by Dobyns-Bennett.
“We were the smallest school there,” head coach Justin Ciralsky said. “We played great and the scores definitely don’t reflect our efforts.”
UCHS opened the tournament with a 2-1 loss to Sullivan Central on Friday, March 24.
“In the Central game we dominated possession, passing and shooting, but we were unable to score,” Ciralsky said. “It was our best game of the season. The other team’s goalie made three absolutely amazing saves to keep them in the game.”
The loss set up a consolation game with Morristown West on Saturday, March 25. It was their third game in as many days, according to their head coach.
“Against Morristown West we were playing well and my starters got us up to an early 2-0 lead, but they were tired because that was the third game in a row so we switched some people around,” Ciralsky said. “We were also missing four players and if you combine that with three penalty kicks (for West), that is the biggest reason why we lost. The boys played well, but we were trying some players in new positions during the last two games.”
Later on Saturday, the Blue Devils fought Morristown East down to the wire, losing 8-7 in penalty kicks.
“Overall, the weekend went well and the coaching staff was quite pleased with what we saw all week long,” Ciralsky said. “We are looking forward to the rest of the season and we are dedicated to finishing strong.”
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The Blue Devils saw their first conference action on Thursday, March 23, at Elizabethton. Unfortunately for UCHS, despite a solid effort they just missed out on a win, falling to the Cyclones 5-4.
“Against Elizabethton we played great, but made some costly mistakes that they were able to capitalize on,” Ciralsky said.
The Blue Devils opened the season with a 2-1 victory over Union, Va., on Monday, March 20.
UCHS got on the scoreboard early in the game and took a 1-0 lead thanks to a goal by Jose Ortiz into the first half.
Ortiz scored again for the Blue Devils in the second half. Union also got on the scoreboard, but the Blue Devils kept them in check from there. UCHS won the game 2-1.
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The Blue Devils are scheduled to travel to Johnson City to play University High at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 30.
They will host Tennessee High on Tuesday, April 4, at 6 p.m.