Trent Taylor enjoys being in the weight room so much he has worked his strength on the hang clean up to 290 pounds.
The exercise of lifting all that weight up to your chest while doing a little jump has little to no effect on one’s soccer skills, but Friday night it certainly translated onto the pitch in Eastside’s dramatic 2-1 win over Alcovy.
Taylor, the Eastside senior, was receiving balls from his teammates all match, striking several on frame during the first half but none found their way past Alcovy keeper Stephen Aycox in the first 40 minutes.
Throughout the 37 minutes, Taylor continued to work in Alcovy’s half of the pitch and fight off defenders to no avail. Then with a little over 2 minutes left Jabari Bennett took the ball out of The Eagles third and passed it to the middle to Jacob Alwes. Alwes then put a perfect pass just in front of Taylor sprinting toward the Tigers’ penalty box.
Taylor then treated an Alcovy defender like one of the barbells in his Eastside weight lifting class, using a little shrug similar to the 290 pounds he moves to his will, and was open one-on-one with Aycox. Taylor shifted around the junior keeper, who had a stellar effort throughout the match, and put the game-winner in from about 8-yards out.
“The kid works hard in everything he does,” Eastside coach Champ Young said. “It’s good to see him do that. He shrugged the kid off in the final second there.”
Taylor was one of several Eagles to put 15 shots on the Tigers’ goal throughout the match, and was the target of most of Eastside’s offense.
“They play a very direct game, where they want to get the ball to their player we figured out that’s what they’re trying to do we just couldn’t stop it,” Alcovy coach Chris Edgar said. “He’s fast and he makes good timed runs, and my defense put themselves in position not to be able to defend against it.”
The Tigers’ defense didn’t really have to be in much of a position to defend against the Eagles’ attack thanks to Aycox’ performance in the net. The senior has been battling Shawn Trowbridge for the starting spot all season, and earned it against Dutchtown. However, he hurt his leg and told Edgar he couldn’t go against Union Grove.
However, Aycox was eager to play against Eastside in his last match against the cross-town rivals. The senior came up with 11 saves, including several spectacular one-one-one diving stops.
“Steve was a senior in his last game against Eastside and he wanted it bad,” Edgar said.
After playing to a 0-0 tie at halftime, Alcovy struck first on Rysan Richardson’s break-away with 34:39 remaining.
The Tigers then appeared they would hang on, until Alwes received the ball almost offsides and faced Aycox alone. Alwes won the one-one-one battle bringing Eastside back with a chance to improve to .500 for the first time this season.
“I was eager to see what we would do when we were tested a little bit,” Young said. “We didn’t play well tonight at all by any means. I was excited that they came out and got the result.”
The Eagles strayed away from their normal ball-control game and went to an air game that had Young frustrated throughout.
“Was it pretty aesthetically, not by any means,” Young said. “We played a lot more long ball than I’d like. We’re dangerous when we knock the ball out wide, everything tonight was linear. It showed some character that we came back and won a good one when we didn’t play our best game.”
The Eagles, who have now won three straight will travel to Sandy Creek on Tuesday. Alcovy, which has lost three straight, hosts Woodland on Tuesday.