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Gatlinburg sneaks by Lady Eagles

Cosby High School senior Felicia Jenkins battles with a Gatlinburg-Pittman High School player for possession of the ball during Thursday's game between the two schools.
Published: 12:09 AM, 09/29/2012 Last updated: 12:15 AM, 09/29/2012

Author: Seth Butler
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

COSBY-A hard-fought effort on the pitch had the Cosby Lady Eagles thinking upset over one of the state's best teams on Thursday night.

Gatlinburg-Pittman High School earned a 2-1 victory over Cosby in non-district soccer play behind the strength of a goal by All-State three-sport standout Karsen Sims in the game's 58th minute.
The goal offset Cosby's equalizer in the 42nd minute of the game by Lexi Lowery, to give the powerful Lady Highlanders (14-2) the one-goal margin of victory. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Lady Eagles (7-3-1).

"I think we played really hard tonight," Cosby coach Ken Green said. "I don't think our girls should hold their heads down, in fact they need to get it up high.

"They played with (Gatlinburg-Pittman), play-for-play, all night long," Green said. "Gatlinburg went to the (sectional) last year and graduated just four girls and to my understanding, according to their coach, they were a semi-pro team coming into this game."

Gatlinburg-Pittman, who has outscored their opponents by an 89-16 margin this year, struck early with a goal by Alicia Sumeriski at the game's 10:20 mark. Sumeriski's goal came off of an unusual play, which saw Cosby fail to clear the ball out of the box. The miscue had the ball bound right to Sumeriski who put the ball into the back of the net for the early lead.

Sims' goal in the second half occurred in a similar fashion, which spoiled a solid night in net by Lady Eagles keeper Cyara Williams.

"There was nothing spectacular about (Gatlinburg-Pittman's) goals, but hats off to them," Green said. "They done a good job and they're a good technical and a good tactical team.

"Maybe my preparation wasn't what it should've been - but I couldn't be prouder of my girls," Green said.

While the Lady Highlanders struck early, they had numerous other scoring opportunities in the first half. The pace and tone of the match was dictated by Gatlinburg-Pittman, who lived on the Cosby end of the field for a majority of the game's first 40 minutes.

"They played too much of the game on our end of the field," Green said. "We went to a 4-4-2 (defense) there near the end of the game. I wish I had done that earlier and we might've gotten out of this one with a 1-1 tie."

Green also felt that the speed of the game was being dictated by the opposition, who's lone losses this year have come to Region 1-AAA powers Science Hill and Morristown West. He constantly told his team to pick up the pace and to play faster during the first half.

"I thought we needed to pick up our speed and get to the ball quicker," Green said. "We were letting them have too much time to set up and make their plays.

"I've always said if you put pressure on a player, they don't have time to think," Green said. "It's all about keeping pressure on them and knowing where we are."

Cosby's lone goal of the match came off of pressure, as their defense forced a turnover, which was parlayed into a goal. Lowery scored off that change of possession after a throw-in, as she made her way through the Lady Highlanders defense.

The two teams remained tied for the next 11 minutes, until Sims provided Gatlinburg-Pittman with their winning goal.

Despite the loss, Green sees no ill-affects from it moving forward. The Lady Eagles have three more matches remaining on their regular season schedule, before postseason play begins in mid-October.

"We're playing some pretty good - actually I think some really good ball right now," Green said. "We've got Carter, University High and Harriman left - so we will see what happens with ii.

"I just hope (the team) is not looking ahead too much, because with good luck, we can wind up the dark horse of the region again," Green said.

Cosby hosts Carter next Tuesday at 6 p.m. in non-district play. The Lady Eagles then host University High in the 2012 home finale on Thursday evening at 6 p.m.

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