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Eastside soccer suffers season ending loss to St. Pius in state tourney
The starting 11 for Eastside in their Sweet Sixteen match at St Pius X in Atlanta. - photo by Submitted Photo (Mike Harrison) | The Covington News

ATLANTA, Ga. — The Class AAAA No. 6 St. Pius X Golden Lions (11-7-2) sent the Eastside Eagles (10-8) home on the short end of a 4-0 score Wednesday night at George B. Maloof Stadium in Atlanta.

A swarming Eagle defense in front of the Eastside goal kept the Golden Lions from seriously testing keeper Jackson Gann early by turning away multiple scoring chances. 

The first shot on goal of the match actually came from Eastside's Billy Love on a 60-yard free kick that the St Pius keeper hauled in with 32:39 on the clock.    

At the 26:52 mark of the first half, the Golden Lions Henry Penter netted what would eventually be the game winning goal by sending the ball across the goal mouth from the left into the far side of the goal to give St Pius a 1-0 lead.

Eastside nearly countered when Jackson Jolley sent a cross in to Will Hughes who touched the ball towards the Golden Lions goal, but the St. Pius keeper made the save at the 25:39 mark.

The turning point of the match occurred when a St Pius defender stole an Eastide pass near the Eagles goal and passed the ball back to a teammate who sent a missile into the goal with 19:27 left in the half to push the score to 2-0. 

Eastside's Jolley sent a free kick into the scoring area on the ground but the Golden Lions keeper made the save with 12:54 remaining. 

With 11:08 left, Jolley sent a flighted free kick in that was headed by a Golden Lion defender towards the St Pius goal. An attacking Love almost got his head on it but, once again, the St Pius keeper made the play, snatching the ball away at the last moment. 

Gann made a total of four saves in the first half — three in the final 7:19 to keep the Eagles in the match at halftime.  

St. Pius stretched their lead to 3-0 on a breakaway down the right side just over 5 minutes into the second stanza.

At the 29:00 mark, the Golden Lions sent a long throw-in that was headed towards the Eagles goal, ricocheted off the back of a Pius player and netted on a diving header to make the score 4-0. 

Gann also made three saves in the second half. Unfortunately, the Eagles were unable to mount any serious scoring threat of their own. 

St. Pius will next face the #1 rated team in AAAA, Blessed Trinity, this Saturday at Blessed Trinity.