BY DARREN REESE
This was a game that had been circled on the Greeneville girls' soccer schedule for a long time.
Eleven months ago, Elizabethton used penalty kicks to get past the Lady Devils on their home field in the Region 1-A/AA championship game. Thursday night was supposed to be about revenge.
Instead, it ended in more Greeneville heartache.
The Lady Devils dominated the majority of the match, out-shooting Elizabethton 31-8 on the night, but it was the Lady Cyclones who struck last, getting a goal from Katie Adams with less than two minutes left in the game to escape Bellamy Soccer Complex with a 1-1 tie.
"Needless to say, (this was a game that our girls had been looking forward to)," Greeneville head coach John Eiskamp said. "We had been talking about this one, and now, unfortunately, we have something else to talk about."
Greeneville and Elizabethton also tied in their regular season matchup a year ago and went on to share the regular season region title with identical 6-0-1 records.
"We just have to keep this one in the back of our heads," Greeneville senior goal keeper Caroline Quarles said. "It's disappointing, especially after they beat us in PKs last year, but there is a lot of season left."
Elizabethton had no answer for the Lady Devils' physical style of play in the first half Thursday night, as almost the entire opening 40 minutes was played on the Greeneville side of the pitch. The Lady Devils held a 19-0 advantage in shots during the first half, including 13 on goal.
But even though the home team got repeated good looks at the net, the game remained scoreless until sophomore Lynae Wilder broke through off an assist from Casy Roths in the 23rd minute.
"We've been working on diagonals and splits all week long in practice and I think finally we saw it happen where (Lynae) was running across through a diagonal run from the opposite side, took the ball, and was able to get it in the goal," Eiskamp said.
Greeneville had a chance to add to its lead just before the end of the first half. Madison Grubbs got off a line drive directly in front of the net but the ball deflected off the cross bar. It dropped in front of the net and Kelsie Cox was there for a potential put-back, but her shot went wide right.
Thirty seconds later, Grubbs just missed on a header and the score remained 1-0 at intermission.
"We had a lot of opportunities," Eiskamp said. "We just couldn't finish, and that's really what it's all about. We had a lot more chances than they did, and we didn't take advantage."
Elizabethton changed the momentum in the second half, with Adams recording her team's first shot of the game in the 46th minute. The Lady Cyclones got off two more shots on goal in the next six minutes.
One of Greeneville's best scoring opportunities came with just over 15 minutes left when Olivia Collier sailed a free kick from about 25 yards out just a foot over the cross bar.
After not having to make a save in the first half, Quarles recorded five in the second and it appeared the Lady Devils were slowly regaining control of the match.
But in second-half stoppage time, disaster struck. Adams got free in the left side of the box and chipped a ball over the head of Quarles to tie the score and send the Greeneville bench into disbelief.
"We didn't deny the shot," Eiskamp said. "That's one thing we have been working on too. We've given up a lot of goals because we aren't deny the attacking strikers' shot on goal."
Greeneville is now 1-0-1 in region play and 2-4-2 overall.