BY SCOTT R. FISHER
GREENEVILLE - A successful team will not only rely on its talent to win. Talent is always complemented by focus and discipline.
On Tuesday, the Greeneville girls soccer team easily defeated the Cosby Lady Eagles, 4-0 in the Region 1-A/AA tournament semifinals at the Terry Bellamy Soccer Park. The Lady Devils advance to the championship game on Thursday at Elizabethton.
"Yeah, we won, but it was not what it should have been," GHS head coach John Eiskamp told his players afterwards. "I want to be happy about beating them 4-0, but I know what you are capable of out on the field."
Greeneville scored two goals in each half and the Lady Eagles managed only one scoring chance the entire game. But despite the clear advantage for his team, Eiskamp believed the players were not as sharp and efficient as they should have been
In the opening 30 minutes of the game, the Lady Devils dominated the play. The ball remained in the attack zone for much of the half. GHS just had trouble finishing the plays,
The first score of the contest came after Greeneville had peppered the Cosby goal. Junior Olivia Collier drilled home a long-range shot into the top right corner of the goal just over five minutes into the game.
"They were settling for shots outside the 18-yard box," Eiskamp said. "We told our strikers before the game to take it to the goal."
The Lady Devils kept up the pressure after the initial goal and were able to add to their lead roughly six minutes later. Senior Kelli Grissom blasted a shot from the left of the Cosby goalkeeper. The keeper had no chance of stopping the ball from finding the back of the net.
An apparent third goal of the half was waved off by the referee several minutes later. It was ruled the Lady Devil player obstructed the Cosby goalie on a crossing pass into the six-yard box.
The only scoring chance for the Lady Eagles came with just under 10 minutes remaining in the half. Cosby was able to get the ball deep into the Greeneville end, but GHS senior goalie Caroline Quarles came off her line and blocked the shot as the ball left the foot of the Lady Eagle striker.
Cosby had one more chance at getting a shot on goal, but the Lady Devil defense was able to clear the ball and relieve the pressure.
At the half, Eiskamp challenged his players to score two quick goals in the opening 10 minutes of the second half. Eiskamp told them if they accomplished that, the game would be won.
Greeneville was able to score two goals in the second half, but it took his team much longer than he expected. The Lady Eagles were able to take the fight to the Lady Devils more in the first part of the second half.
"Definitely a lack of focus," Eiskamp said about his team's struggles. "We did not pass the ball well."
After about 15 minutes of play, the action turned in favor of GHS. The ball started staying more in the attack zone. The ball was being played more towards the Cosby goal and not by the Greeneville defenders.
Junior Kelsie Cox netted the third goal of the game to pad the lead for the home team.
The goal by Cox seemed to inspire the Lady Devils. The intensity of the attack picked up and the scoring opportunities were quickly adding up.
The final goal came off a set play. Senior Michelle Bannach headed home a nicely served corner kick. The score came with roughly 10 minutes before the final whistle.
"We lucked up and got two goals and that sealed the game for us," Eiskamp said.
Now that his team has advanced to the Regional Championship on Thursday, Eiskamp expects a better effort.
When asked what the key to a victory over Elizabethton is, Eiskamp responded, "Focus and discipline. The kids have the skill and knowledge. They have to stay focused and play disciplined."
Another key that Eiskamp mentioned was finishing their opportunities. The last time Greeneville played Elizabethon, the game ended in a 1-1 tie despite the Lady Devils recording 25 shots compared to just four by the Lady Cyclones.