Leah Murray

Cosby junior Leah Murray (center) splits a pair of defenders while pushing the ball up the pitch during Tuesday’s season opener against Cumberland Gap.

COSBY—A year ago the Cosby Lady Eagles soccer program opened the season unbeaten through their first 11 games. On Tuesday, any hopes of repeating that feat were quickly dashed.

While Tuesday night’s contest was cut short by weather in the area, Cosby fell to an experienced Cumberland Gap team in a 4-1 defeat in the Lady Eagles’ season opener.

“We’ve got to be better at winning the ball and putting it in the goal,” Cosby assistant James Groat said. “Second half we played better, but in the first half Cumberland Gap came out hungry and beat us. They let us know they wanted to come out and make a statement and they did, especially in that first half.”

Cosby (0-1) trailed Cumberland Gap (1-0) 4-0 at the half, as the Lady Eagles struggled to find the back of the net in their limited scoring opportunities. Leah Murray had Cosby’s lone goal of the evening in the second half, finally finding the mark in the 45th minute.

“You’ll have days where you’ll struggle to put the ball in the goal,” Groat said. “But to do it as many times as we did is tough. Cumberland Gap is going to be an outstanding program. We just have to be able to strike faster.”

The Lady Panthers controlled possession for most of the first half, and booted in two goals in the 12th minute alone to build an early 2-0 lead. Aly Ramsey had the opening goal, and Riley Collett added the second for the two-score advantage.

Ramsey notched her second goal of the evening in the 21st minute, while Brianna Goins had Cumberland Gap’s fourth and final goal for the night in the 28th minute to give it a 4-0 lead.

After Murray’s goal early in the second half to prevent the shutout, Cosby’s attack was more inspired in the second half. However, the Lady Eagles’ forwards struggled to find the mark over the next 11 minutes before play was halted due to lightning.

“We’ve got to put the ball in the goal,” Cosby head coach Michelle Lane said. “Not around it or over it, but actually find the back of the net.”

With the weather ceasing to relent in the immediate area the game was called with 24 minutes still remaining, giving Cumberland Gap the season opening triumph.

While Tuesday’s loss wasn’t the outing the Lady Eagles had hoped for, they’ll still have the chance to reroute their season to end the week.

Cosby will once again take part in the Smoky Mountain Cup at Rocky Top Sports World in Gatlinburg, Tenn. on Friday and Saturday. The Lady Eagles have won their division in their last two trips to the tournament, and will look to repeat that success over the weekend.

“This schedule is very tough,” Groat said. “This weekend’s tournament is no different. It’s going to be tough. We’re still learning, but I hope a game like this helps motivate our girls because we have the potential to have something special here.”

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