Eastside’s Jerry Marban scored early, Daniel Powers scored his second goal late, and Brian Worton played superbly in goal as the Eastside Eagles boys varsity soccer team defeated region rival Walnut Grove 3-1 Tuesday night at Sharp Stadium.
With the victory, Eastside improved to 5-2 on the season, 1-1 in Region 8-AAAA, while the Warriors dropped to 3-5 overall and 1-3 in region play.
Even with the win, Eastside coach Champ Young said he sees plenty of room for improvement.
“We didn’t put two halves together. We showed up a little flat in the second half,” Young said. “They (Walnut Grove) put a good little sequence together (scoring a goal 19 seconds into the second half). You have to tip your hat to them. They came out and responded really well in the second half. We told our team at halftime that we had to have a focus coming out in the second half. (A two-goal lead) is such a dangerous lead. One goal and they’re back in it – and they were.”
Playing spirited defense, and keeping the ball in its offensive zone for the majority of the first half, Eastside took a 1-0 lead 6:30 into the game as Marban took a nifty pass from fellow forward Jacob Alwes and shot the ball past the Warrior’s Collin Wynn in goal.
Eastside kept the pressure on the Warriors’ defense and went ahead 2-0 on Powers’ first score of the match with 18.1 seconds left in the period.
As Young said, however, the Eagles didn’t put two strong halves together.
Lacking the defensive intensity they displayed in the first half, the Eagles allowed Walnut Grove striker Jacob Queen a scoring opportunity just 19 seconds into the period and Queen responded, cutting the lead in half, 2-1. From there, the Warriors played with more purpose, and if not for the excellent play and leadership of Worton, the final score might have been far different.
“He (Worton) is our leader – he’s our leader for sure,” Young said. “I challenged him last year, coming into this year, that he needed to be a vocal leader and a leader by example, and he’s done that, so far.”
The Eagles put the game away with 16:41 left as Powers intercepted a Walnut Grove pass and drove home the goal, giving Eastside some breathing room at 3-1..
That third goal seemed to awaken the Eagles from their defensive slumber, as they
shut down Warriors offense until the final whistle.
Eastside returns to action today at home against region foe Chestatee.