Jets fall to Franklin in region opener. XX

May 14—The Cumberland County Jets have been hitting on all cylinders this season as they rolled through the regular soccer season and steamrolled their way into the postseason.

The Jets had an explosive offensive power, scoring double digit goals in many of their games. On the other side of the ball, CCHS had a smothering defense.

Unfortunately, the Jets stumbled Monday night when they dropped a 4-3 decision to Franklin County in the first round of the region tournament in Crossville.

"For the most part, we played pretty well," said CCHS coach Cub Whitson. "We had a few errors in some critical moments, and that made all the difference.

"Franklin County started off a bit stronger. They were extremely fast and athletic. They were giving us some trouble, but the boys adapted very well to it, and ended up getting some goals."

Niki Azzani scored two goals for Cumberland County in the first 40 minutes to give the Jets an early advantage.

"At halftime, we just talked about how we wanted to continue what we were doing," Whitson said. "We talked about digging in on some marks because we knew Franklin County would come out strong."

Franklin County picked up some momentum with a goal early in the second half.

"It was 2-0 at the half, but Franklin County scored four goals in a row, within probably 25 minutes," the coach said. "They were good enough goals, but I didn't think we made them work hard enough for them."

Gabriel Alva got the final goal of the match when he blistered a shot into the back of the net to reach the final 4-3 margin.

Cumberland County's record, Whitson said, is now 14-6-1.

"We were discouraged and upset, but when you get to that level the matches are going to be extremely tough no matter whom you're playing," said Whitson. "They got the better of us in the second half."

Next year, Cumberland County returns many from its powerful offense, including Azzani and Graham Davidson.

"We have a solid corp of players returning," Whitson said. "The hardest part of the season is saying good-bye to your seniors after the last game. It is never easy."