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Defending state champions oust UCHS soccer team from postseason

By Keeli Parkey

A loss to the defending state champions brought the 2018 season to an end for the Unicoi County High School soccer team (6-5-1).

Playing at Greeneville, the Blue Devils fell 7-0 in the district semifinals on May 8.

“We knew we were facing an almost impossible task,” head coach Justin Ciralsky said of the game against the Green Devils. “We had the goal of going out and playing our game. … We started out very grown. Greeneville got an accidental goal early in the game and that kind of deflated us. Out of all the games that you don’t want a fluke goal to happen is against a team that doesn’t need much help scoring.”

Despite the early disappoint and the end result, Ciralsky said the Blue Devils never gave up.

“They played well,” he added. “They finished the game out well. They have good character and they never quit.”

• • •

The 2018 season is one to be remembered, especially because of the rainy weather.

“This spring was crazy weather-wise and that affected, not just us, but many teams,” Ciralsky said. “We didn’t get to play as many games as we wanted. We had six games get canceled and we didn’t get to practice outside near as much as we would have like to. I think you could definitely tell because there were some things that we were lacking – more touches on the ball would have helped drastically.”

The Blue Devils will graduate four seniors – Jakob Carver, Chris Andrade, Leroy Valdez and Kevin Alvarado – from the 2018 team.

“They have been an awesome group,” Ciralsky said. “They have been consistent throughout their careers.”