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Eagles fall short in region match-up
Eastside's Jabari Bennett battled with a Lanier midfielder Tuesday night in the Eagles' 5-4 loss to the Longhorns. - photo by Matt Smith

The Eastside Eagles boys varsity soccer team gave visiting Lanier High School all it could handle Tuesday night at Sharp Stadium, but while the Eagles survived 20 mph wind gusts and temperature dipping below 40 degrees, they were unable to hold off the Longhorns in the second half, falling 5-4.

Lanier scored three goals in the first 15 minutes of the second period, erasing a 2-2 tie at halftime. Eastside pulled within one with 16 minutes remaining, but couldn’t hit its mark in the final 15 minutes, placing just a pair of shots on goal as time wound down.

Mental errors, including a handball in the Eagles’ penalty box and a missed penalty kick, came back to haunt the Eagles in the region match-up, dropping Eastside below the .500 mark in region play.

“Mental mistakes on our part cost us tonight … it’s been that way all year,” Eastside coach Champ Young said. “We’re once again looking up at a scoreboard that we should be winning and we’re on the losing side. We should never lose a game where we’ve scored four goals, never.

“It wasn’t a fun one to be a part of,” he said. “Inexperience rears its head at the wrong time and we’ve got to grow and come out stronger from this.”

With the game even 2-2 after the opening half, Lanier struck first in the second period, taking a 3-2 advantage four minutes in after Eastside’s Misha Felton was called for a handball inside of the penalty box. Lanier’s Justin Soto stepped to the shot and sank it into the bottom left corner, reclaiming the lead for Lanier.

Eastside evened the game on a Mateus Holanda free kick seven minutes later, tying the game once again. Holanda sent a long cross deep into Lanier territory, finding the head of Dakota Arrington for the score.

Lanier answered with a two-goal scoring run, scoring a pair of goals two minutes part at the 26thand 25th minute of the game. The first came off a long corner that initially missed its mark, but Lanier recovered the loose ball and found Eduardo Carlos-Sosa on the backside of the defense and Carlos-Sosa put it in the back of the net, handing Lanier the lead. Soto extended Lanier’s advantage to 5-4 a minute later and Eastside looked down for the count.

Instead, the Eagles rallied, finding an offensive spark that had been missing since the start of the half. Eastside had a chance to draw within a goal of the Longhorns after Jacob Alwes was illegally taken down in the penalty box by the Longhorns’ Denis Vasquez-Duarte, but Holanda’s ensuing penalty kick and follow-up shot were blocked, and the Longhorns held on to a two-goal advantage.

Holanda had a chance to redeem himself at the 16:42 mark, stepping up to the penalty kick line for a second time after the Longhorns’ keeper was whistled for a foul against Alwes. With the Longhorns’ backup keeper in, Holanda sunk the penalty shot, bringing Eastside back to within a single goal.

Despite their late surge, the Eagles’ were unable to net another goal in the closing seconds, putting two shots on frame that just missed their mark. Mason Jones had an opportunity to tie the game with just over six minutes remaining on a feed from Arrington, but his shot was blocked, preserving the win for Lanier.

Holanda and Alwes netted the Eagles’ first two goals of the game in the opening half after Lanier jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Alwes’ goal came with 14:10 remaining in the half on a long, bounding kick that dropped over the keeper’s head, while Holanda scored off a free kick after a Lanier penalty that the midfielder bent around the Longhorns’ wall.

Eastside returns to region play mext week against Monroe Area.