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Soccer: Eastside, Alcovy split
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COVINGTON - The Alcovy High boys soccer team captured more than a 1-0 win Friday night over cross-county rival Eastside.

The Tigers (7-6 overall, 2-3 region) claimed the Newton County championship and the No. 4 seed in the Region 8-AAAA soccer postseason tournament.

The Eastside girls (8-4, 2-2), in turn, defeated the Lady Tigers, 2-1, to secure their first trip to the postseason in Class AAAA action as, most likely, the No. 4 seed.

For the Alcovy boys, a trip to the postseason in only their second year of existence is an accomplishment the coaches and players are proud to have on their resumes.

"It's unbelievable," said Alcovy boys coach Michael Ebel. "The improvement we've had in one year is unbelievable. Our players really stepped it up this year."

The desire to win for the Tigers was more than evident in the first half. Alcovy's defense and midfield controlled the game, allowing the Eagles (4-8, 0-4) only one shot on goal in the entire half.

The lone score of the game came at the 12-minute mark off the foot of Alcovy's Gene Stolp, who booted a high shot that sailed just over the hands of Eastside backup keeper Austin Cates into the back of the net.

The remaining 68 minutes yielded no other offensive bright spots for either team.

In the second half, Eastside's defense held the Tigers in check, allowing only eight shots on goal after allowing 16 in the first half.

But frustrations on the offensive side of the ball plagued the Eagles, who were down four of their starters due to injuries, other school obligations and disciplinary issues.

"As far as people filling in we did fine," said Eastside boys coach Brian Saffold. "Our normal goalie (Greg Morrell) was not in goal because of a shoulder injury, but Austin did a great job."

Saffold said the opportunity to play Cates, who finished Friday's match with 10 goal saves, gives him a glimpse into next season.

"(Morrell) does a good job in the field," Saffold said. "If Austin does this good in goal then we'll be able to use Greg at midfield."

In girls action, Eastside's Ashton Tehrani drew a hot hand early, which ultimately was enough to give her team the win.

Less than eight minutes into the match, Tehrani, a sophomore, dribbled through Alcovy defensive traffic to cross goal and score the first of her two goals.

Twenty minutes later, Tehrani headed back down the middle of the field through traffic for the second goal, with an assist from Ashley Aycox.

"We're playing better than we ever have before," said Eastside girls coach Libba Wilcox. "In the first half, we did really well. We kind of struggled in the second half but we turned it back on at the end."

Tehrani left the match in the 58th minute with cramping issues, and the Lady Tigers (2-10-1, 0-5) took advantage of a team reeling without its leader.

In the 74th minute, Kendal Krueger closed the scoring gap with the Lady Tigers' only goal of the night - a shot that skipped past Eastside keeper Kayla Jones.

Eastside's defense tightened in the waning moments of the match to hold on for the win that qualified it for the fourth seed in postseason region play.

"It feels pretty good," Tehrani said of the playoff berth. "This is my first time and the team's first time to go, so it's exciting."