Cyclones take charge in mercy-rule win over Rebels
BY ALLEN LAMOUNTAIN
The cleanest score sheet in soccer is one where the opponent has zero shots on goal. The Elizabethton Fighting Cyclones did that on Tuesday evening while unleashing a 17-shot barrage on Sullivan South.
Senior backline defender Braden Holly scored a three-goal hat trick as EHS (2-2, 1-0 conference) produced a 9-nil mercy-rule win over the Rebels.
Senior Holston Howard and junior Clay Hopland each tallied two goals as the Cyclones closed this match out in 57 minutes of the game clock.
“We talked all week about this match,” Holly said. “We know we haven’t played our best. We had a couple of games we lost that we feel we should have won and coach told us at halftime to press the attack and get it over with so we can go eat.”
Holly got the Cyclones on the board in the 12th minute with a rocket blast from 30 yards out that beat Rebels goalkeeper Cole Davis high. Davis got his fingertips on the blast but couldn’t stop it from sliding through his fingers and into the net.
A penalty kick from Howard made it 2-nil in the 35th minute. From there, EHS defensive pressure kept the ball in the Rebels’ end of the field as the Cyclones scored three goals in the last 1:40 of the first half.
Howard scored on a breakaway and fired a left-footed shot past Davis in the 35th minute and freshman Vernon Riley got into the act off a feed from Hopland.
In the last seconds of the first half, Hopland fired a shot from an impossible angle that somehow went in for a 5-nil EHS advantage.
“I don’t ever tell my players not to shoot the ball,” Cyclones head coach Bill McClay said. “I was really happy with the way our runs matched our crossers.
“Clay Hopland had a couple of passes and at least one assist on good crossing passes. We played well defensively. We could have had better results on corner kicks, but overall it’s a win we had to have.”
The second half opened with a penalty and a yellow card on South’s Ryker Bowling and Smithdeal nailed the penalty kick for a 6-goal EHS lead.
Hopland scored again on a breakaway as South had a difficult time clearing their end of the field as the Cyclones pressed up and forced the attack.
Holly scored the last two goals of the lopsided match in the 46th and 57th minutes respectively.
Sullivan South 0 0 – 0
Elizabethton 5 4 – 9
E – Holly (unassisted) 12:00
E – Howard (PK goal) 35:00
E – Howard (unassisted) 38:00
E – Vernon (assist Hopland) 38;00
E – Hopland (unassisted) 40:00
E – Smithdeal (PK goal) 42:00
E – Hopland (unassisted) 44:00
E – Holly (unassisted) 46:00
E – Holly (unassisted) 57:00