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Lady Devils drop final game, 5-2

The third time just wasn’t the charm for the Lady Blue Devil soccer team.
Unicoi County High School jumped out to an early 2-0 lead against Happy Valley on Monday, Oct. 12, but the Lady Warriors roared back to take a 5-2 win during the play-in game of the District 1-A/AA soccer tournament in Carter County.
“The girls played really, really hard,” UCHS head coach Bettina Chirica said. “In a couple of months … they learned so much. Keeping up with a team like Happy Valley, we were very happy and very pleased with their effort.”
The Lady Blue Devils jumped out to an early 2-0 advantage in the first half with goals at 39- and 37-minute marks by sophomore Jillian Taylor.
“I think what happened in the end was we started to get tired and couldn’t control the ball very well,” Chirica said. “We started letting up, but you could see the girls were wanting more. There were a couple of injuries we had coming in … overall, I was very pleased with the way the team played. They gave their hearts and I’m happy about it … especially going ahead at one point 2-0.”
UCHS continued to control the momentum, heading into halftime with a 2-1 lead.
“We were just in it to win it,” Taylor said. “We were hoping to come out on top.”
The Lady Warriors rallied with a 4-0 shutout in the second half to punch their ticket to play University High on Tuesday, Oct. 13, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline.
“I’m really proud of the girls,” Taylor said after the game. “Most of the girls haven’t played soccer before. We’ve gotten so much better during the season and we’ve gotten closer as a team. I think next year we’re going to do a lot better.”
Taylor also said that the game against Happy Valley will be motivation for the team moving forward next season.
Against Happy Valley, goalkeeper Alex Reynoso had some stalwart saves in the first half, while Daniela Martinez, Fernanda Murillo, Dolores Meza added some key defensive moments for the Lady Blue Devils.
“We’re not a mature team just yet,” Chirica said, “but, I’m pretty sure by this time next year, we’ll be where we need to be. This is a big step for the girls this year. We’re losing three seniors, so the majority of the girls will be back next season. They are very prepared for next season. They just want it; they’re ready to keep playing now, but I feel next year could be completely different.”
UCHS will send off Jailene Garcia, Diana Duenas and Alex Hernandez as the trio of seniors conclude their stint with the soccer program.