The Eastside boys' soccer team may have slipped on the field, but Tuesday's loss to the fourth-ranked team in the state was anything but a slip up.
The Eagles' season came to an end thanks to the 7-1 loss to the War Eagles but it was one that had strong footing all season under the guidance of first-year coach Champ Young.
Going into Tuesday's second-round game of the Class AAA playoffs Eastside (11-7-2) knew its opponent would be the toughest challenge it faced all year. What the Eagles didn't count on was the difference the field would make.
Woodward plays on an artificial turf field, which allows the ball to move quicker than natural grass, and thanks to Tuesday's early rains the ball was moving more rapidly than usual.
The slickness of the turf also caused the Eagles to lose their footing at key moments, including the first of the game. Such a slip helped Woodward's winger to get by the Eastside defense and open the War Eagles' scoring early.
A few minutes later Woodward was given, and made, a penalty shot.
From there, Eastside became deflated as the speed of play from Woodward and constant slipping on the turf seemed to discourage the team.
"We're not going to make the field an excuse, but it exposes you when you don't play quickly and these kids play on this all the time," Young said. "Their speed of play was so much faster than ours. We took a good half to realize what we were doing and getting to where we needed to be."
Woodward played very strong in the middle and didn't allow Eastside to get any offensive attack going. The War Eagles, meanwhile, continued attacking and went into the half up 7-0.
The Eagles returned from the locker room determined not to have their season end in a mercy-shortened game and didn't give up throughout the second half.
Eastside made a few tactical changes and shutout the state's fourth-best team throughout the final 40 minutes.
The Eagles improved defensively in the midfield, and started winning battles in the center of the pitch.
"I'm proud of my two keepers," Young said. "As they battle with each other for the position it will only make them better."
Eastside's lone goal came late in the match when senior Trent Taylor was fouled in the penalty box.
After receiving the penalty kick, Taylor converted to give Eastside a hard-earned consolation goal.