By Keeli Parkey
Even though victories didn’t come in the first days of the season, the Unicoi County High School girls’ soccer team is better than the one that took the field in 2015.
The Lady Devils had their last dress rehearsal before competition began against David Crockett in scrimmage action on Aug. 11. UCHS held a 1-0 lead at the half; however, the ladies were outscored 2-0 in the second half, thanks partly to an offside penalty, and suffered a 2-1 loss.
The team showed its progress against Crockett, according to first-year head coach Bettina Chirica.
“Since last year we have improved a lot,” she said. “It’s evident to see between the comparison of last year and this year. Last year Crockett beat us 8 or 9 to 0. This year they barely beat us 2 to 1. We came out strong for the Crockett game, and we had the lead, too. We were making the passes from the defense to the midfield to our forwards. We were all over Crockett.
“At one point we scored another goal, but it was called back for an offsides,” Chirica continued. “Then at the very end we had another goal scoring opportunity. We dominated the majority of the game until near the end where we found ourselves struggling a little with our fitness. We are continuing to work daily at practice with our endurance so we can give Crockett a rematch in the coming weeks.”
The Lady Devils are scheduled to face Crockett in regular season action on Sept. 8.
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UCHS got off to a slow start on Monday, Aug. 15, against Daniel Boone and eventually fell, 5-0.
“For the Boone game we didn’t come out mentally prepared,” Chirica said. “After the first goal we woke up and started playing our game. We were connecting passes and getting shots on the goal, but we were just unlucky to put one in the back of the net. Overall, I feel like we really played well.”
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The ladies’ first week of action ended with an 11-0 loss to University High, but it wasn’t a discouraging loss, according to the head coach.
“It was the best game the girls played all season,” Chirica said. “Our girls sprinted to every ball, won the 50/50 balls, and really put up a fight. Overall we played like a team.
“University High has a few single standouts that caused them to win that game. The majority of the goals scored by University High came from a single player, Sarah Robinson.
“Regardless of the score, our girls showed the most resilience when University High kept their varsity team for about 65-70 minutes of the entire 80 minutes of the soccer match with their lead,” Chirica continued. “It just goes to show how intimidating our girls really were to them.”
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The Lady Devils were scheduled to travel to Elizabethton for a match on Tuesday, Aug. 23, after The Erwin Record’s deadline.
Their next match is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 30, at Happy Valley. This match is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.