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Lady Devil soccer team earns respect with wins

By Keeli Parkey

The Lady Devil soccer team and coaches celebrate after their win over David Crockett last week. (Contributed photo)

In just its third season in existence, the Unicoi County High School girls soccer program is making a name for itself.

The Lady Devils (4-7, 1-3) fought hard for two victories last week – defeating Sullivan South in league play on Tuesday, Sept. 19, and David Crockett on Thursday, Sept. 21. UCHS won both games by the score of 3-2.

“In the Crockett game, Jillian Taylor scored 2 goals and Spencer Garant scored 1 goal,” head coach Bettina Chirica told The Erwin Record. “In the South game, Jillian scored 2 goals and Spencer scored 1 goal.”

The Lady Devil’s defense had several standout moments last week.

“Carly Kinsler made an amazing save in the Crockett game that saved us from tying,” Chirica said. “In the South game, Halie Hawkins controlled majority of the midfield with Jill Taylor finishing all passes played through from Spencer Garant.”

The victories demonstrate how her team has improved since the beginning of the season, Chirica said.

“Last time we played South they beat us 8-0 at their home field,” she added. “This time we beat them, and it was a conference game. South is as equally good as Volunteer and Elizabethon – both teams in our conference. In the past those teams scored first and we let down. If we come out mentally prepared, we should have a fair chance at winning against them.”

In addition to defeating South for a league win, the victory also came on a special night for the Lady Devils.

“The girls were ecstatic to have such a huge win against South on senior night,” Chirica said. “Typically, you schedule easier games on senior night and this was not the case for us. South has a long standing tradition of expecting to go far in their conference and here we are a third year team coming in and beating them.”

The Lady Devils managed to spoil Crockett’s senior night.

“Crockett held their senior night against us, expecting a win, and it didn’t work out that way,” Chirica said. “It just goes to show that determination and the drive to win can go a long way. These wins were huge for us because it lifted the girls’ spirits and earned respect amongst the other teams in our area.”

The Lady Devils faced Volunteer on Monday, Sept. 25, and Elizabethton on Tuesday, Sept. 26, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline. They are scheduled to close the regular season with a game at Sullivan Central on Thursday, Sept. 28, beginning at 6 p.m.