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Game of the Week
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Tonight the Alcovy High boys and girls varsity soccer teams will hope to do something they've yet to accomplish in Region 8-AAAA South action - beat crosstown rival Eastside.

And the outlook is good, considering each team fell by just a score of 3-1 last season, proving that a win is not impossible.

"We will prepare for Eastside the same way we do for everyone else," says Alcovy boys coach Michael Ebel. "We work hard in practice everyday and prepare for the game at hand. I have not been able to watch Eastside play this year. We can only control what we do."

Entering today, the Eagles are 4-7-0 overall and still searching for their first region victory of the season. Meanwhile, the Tigers are 6-6-0 with a 1-3-0 region record.

"I know that this game will mean a lot to the guys on both of our teams," says Eastside coach Brian Saffold. "A lot of the guys on the field are friends and have been playing together and against each other for a long time. It comes down to bragging rights. For both of our teams, this will be the last time our seniors get to match up against one another."

Nevertheless, the Eagles will be missing approximately five starters due to injury and other reasons.

"It will be interesting to see how the other guys handle that," Saffold notes. "Hopefully someone will step up and fill those roles once the whistle blows."

In addition, Eastside has lost five games in a row.

"It starts to get into your head a little; toying with your psyche," Saffold says. "Hopefully we can overcome that. We played good in our last two games, but not for the entire 80 minutes and that is what we will have to do to beat Alcovy."

Mental focus should play a vital role in the outcome of the game. During this week in practice, the Eagles have been primarily focused on keeping possession of the ball.

"We can usually manage to play one good half of soccer," says Eastside senior midfielder Braden Smith, "so we are going to have to put together two halves of good quality soccer. By doing this, it will ensure that we can keep in the running with (Alcovy) for the entire game, and hopefully come out on top."

For the girls, the Lady Eagles (7-4-0,1-2-0) are hoping to even their region record with a victory against the Lady Tigers (2-9-1, 0-4-0). But it should be no easy task, as Alcovy is hungry after coming off a devastating 11-0 shutout Tuesday against Heritage.

"I have not had the opportunity to see Eastside play," says Alcovy girls coach Chris Edgar. "We have prepared for this just like any other game. Last year we played them tough but fell short. All I can say is we are going to try our hardest and will let the chips fall where they may.

"My concerns are not with Eastside; my concerns are with my team," Edgar adds. "I want them to be physical and control the pace of the game."

Saffold takes a similar path, agreeing with Edgar.

"I don't really have any concerns specifically about the Tigers as a team," Saffold says. "Alcovy is good, but I know that when our guys are on we can play with anybody. The biggest concern I have about the game is with our own team."

Eastside will visit Alcovy tonight beginning at 5 p.m. at Tiger Field.