Daniel Raygosa chases down possession of the ball against Cocke County on April 11. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

By Keeli Parkey

Mistakes cost the Unicoi County High School boys soccer team in conference play last week.

Playing at Sullivan South, the Blue Devils (5-3, 2-2) fell 3-1 in a game they needed to win to improve their league standings.

“Honestly, we gave the game away with some crucial errors,” UCHS head coach Justin Ciralsky said. “We were not focused mentally. South’s team capitalized on a couple of our mistakes for two goals in the first half and then they scored a great free kick for the third.”

There were some bright spots in Kingsport last week.

“We dominated possession for the entire game, but in the second half we started playing much better,” Ciralsky said. “We scored an amazing whole team goal, and unfortunately we hit the post a few times. We weren’t able to play our game and we lost a very costly important game.”

Daniel Meza put the ball in the net for UCHS at South.

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The Blue Devils rebounded from the loss to claim a 6-1 victory over Cocke County on Thursday, April 11, in Erwin.

“The game against Cocke County was much better,” Ciralsky said. “They moved the ball well and played with more heart and focus. The JV boys played much of the game and did well.”

Scoring for the Blue Devils in this game was Armando Saldana, Martin Porras and Matt Hensley.

Ciralsky said his team needs to keep focused as the postseason approaches.

“If we don’t play with heart and focus on doing the little things well, than we won’t be successful during the remainder of the season,” he added. “If we can come together and play our game, then I think we have the possibility of making it through the regional tournament. We will see; it’s up to the players.”

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The Blue Devils hosted Elizabethton on Tuesday, April 16, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline for this issue. That was another game the team needed to win to stay near the top of the league standings.

“We needed to win the South game to secure second or third going into the tournament and because of the loss we must beat a strong Elizabethton team for a chance at second or third,” Ciralsky said.

They are also scheduled to host Chuckey-Doak on Thursday, April 18, at 6 p.m.