East­side eases to win

Lady Ea­gles win 'im­por­tant game' over Lo­cust Grove

The Covington News - - Sports - BRYAN FAZIO Sports Ed­i­tor

Thanks to solid ball move­ment the East­side girls’ soc­cer team moved it­self up a po­si­tion in the Re­gion 4-AAA stand­ings.

Lo­cust Grove came to Cousins Mid­dle School just ahead of the Ea­gles in re­gion play in what East­side coach Joel Sin­gle­ton called “a very im­por­tant game.”

The Ea­gles (6-5, 3-1) were ready for it, putting into prac­tice what they have been work­ing so hard on in train­ing.

East­side has strug­gled at times to take an early lead and fell be­hind 2-0, 3-0, 3-1 in ear­lier games. Thurs­day night was a dif­fer­ent case.

The Ea­gles scored within the first three min­utes as Am­ber La­fond scored off a Sarah Gad­dis cross from the left side.

“We stressed a lot in the last two weeks to fo­cus at the start of the game,” Sin­gle­ton said. “We played some tough teams early and let them get two or three goals, those were a cou­ple of games we should have won, but we let them get up on us. It’s a lot eas­ier to play from ahead than it is from be­hind and to­day we did what we needed to do from that an­gle.”

East­side played the rest of the way with the lead and limited Lo­cust Grove’s op­por­tu­ni­ties through its pos­ses­sion. The Ea­gles cut off an­gles on de­fense and moved the ball through the mid­field to what has been the strong­est as­pect of their game, the up­per third and the for­wards.

The team of Sa­van­nah Hill, Emily House, Gad­dis, La­fond and oth­ers ex­celled at putting the ball in space for their teammates to get to it and looked like a team that had been play­ing to­gether for more than two years.

The Ea­gles worked the ball through their out­side mid­field­ers and then found La­fond go­ing up the mid­dle, who beat the Lo­cust Grove keeper for her sec­ond goal, 35 sec­onds into the sec­ond half.

“They’re keeper is prob­a­bly one of the more solid in the re­gion,” Sin­gle­ton said. “I thought we re­ally kept her off bal­ance to­day.

"We ex­e­cuted what we wanted to do com­ing in, which was get­ting the ball in close.”

The Ea­gles were buzzing around Lo­cust Grove’s back third through­out the sec­ond half, com­ing out­side in on the crosses from Hill and Gad­dis.

“We pos­sessed a lot,” Sin­gle­ton said. “We had some passes here and there, but we con­trolled the flow of the game most of the time.”

Hill did ex­actly that.

Putting the ex­cla­ma­tion on a fourth straight win, East­side got the ball out of the back­field, Hill passed up to Sarah Gad­dis and headed for the side­line. Gad­dis, who has played with the se­nior for the last three years, then waited pa­tiently run­ning up the mid­dle, as Hill put a cross to her 10 yards out. Gad­dis took a con­trol­ling touch and struck one in the corner past Lo­cust Grove to seal the win.

“It makes it a lot eas­ier that they know where each other are,” Sin­gle­ton said. “Even when they do well they still say, ‘Hey we have to do more.’”

East­side now has a week off be­fore tak­ing on the re­gion’s top team, and ninth-ranked in the state, Spald­ing Thurs­day. Spald­ing opened the sea­son with two straight wins and a to­tal of 23 goals. Most re­cently, it has won two in a row, beat­ing Stock­bridge 9-0 on March 13 and Henry County 10-0 on March 16.

Bryan Fazio/ The Cov­ing­ton News

Sarah Gad­dis scores East­side's third goal in the sec­ond half of the Ea­gles' 3-0 win over Lo­cust Grove on Thurs­day.

Bryan Fazio/ The Cov­ing­ton News

Alexis Craw­ford tries to take the ball away from a Lo­cust Grove player dur­ing East­side's soc­cer match at Cousins Mid­dle School Thurs­day.

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