The Lady Cyclones (12-4) got a pair of goals from junior Cami Davison and one from senior Abbey Townsend in the gritty win. Central (7-10) got to this stage with a 9-0 whitewashing of Unicoi County in the play-in game on Monday, but didn't have the horses to pull off a road win and were eliminated.
“The thing that got us down was we just could not get a goal in the first half,” Lady Cougars head coach Emily Robinette said. “We just didn't get good shots in the first half. We had more offensive drive out of us at times in the second half. The goal that was called offside really hurt us because it would have made for a one-goal game at the time.”
That play came in the second half with Elizabethton up by two goals as sophomore Rylie Patrick's apparent goal was called offside and the Cyclones dodged a bullet. Townsend added her goal just three minutes later to stake the Cyclones to a 3-nil advantage.
Central got a Patrick goal off a scrum in front of the Elizabethton goal in the 60th minute.
“I call it the anatomy of a goal,” Lady Cyclones head coach Bill McClay said. “You can just see errors that occur and compound on the way to the goal. Bailey had the ball in her hand, I think, and it squirted out. We started slow tonight — even though we scored fairly early, we have greater starts — but we won the game 3-1 and advance to the region for the first time in a while.”
Davison scored in the ninth minute of the first half as a shot from senior Cassidy Kaldy hit the crossbar and bounced into the penalty area, where junior Lexi Brown found Davison's foot and she did the rest.
Davison scored again shortly thereafter as she put in a shot off a corner kick from Townsend, giving the Cyclones a two-goal lead at the half.
“I thought we played pretty well tonight,” McClay said. “Abby Addington was spot on and we had chances to play the ball to a dangerous position, but it didn't happen as often as we have shown. Regardless, we are playing somewhere on Tuesday and I am assuming Greeneville won — so we will play there on Thursday unless the storm drops two inches of water on the field and we can't play. We have to be finished by Friday, so if that occurs we will have to play early on Friday.”
Townsend's goal came in the 52nd minute. It was a free kick she drilled past Cougars goalkeeper Jaelyn West from 23 yards out.