With nine girls who have scored throughout Eastside's fourth-straight playoff season, Lady Eagles' coach Joel Singleton knows he needs each of their talents in today's playoff opener.
Second-seeded Eastside hosts the third seed out of Region 3-AAA, Westside Augusta, in the opening round of the state playoffs at Cousins Middle School today.
The Patriots (13-3) come in to today's match having scored 97 goals, good enough for 6.1 per game, while allowing less than a goal a match.
Despite the gaudy statistics, Singleton says Westside Augusta gets its goals on breakaways and strikes out of the back. In the Patriots' previous game, against Harlem on April 25, Westside had just four shots and pulled off a 2-1 win despite the Bulldogs' 26 shots.
"They like to play from the inside out and defensively they've got a center back that's very solid," Singleton said. "The big thing for us going against them is to make sure we spread the field. We really feel like we can have some solid play if we keep it wide and make them work."
The Lady Eagles (11-6-1) have scored 4.4 goals per game led by Sarah Gaddis and Amber Lafond but they have been able distribute the scoring as well.
"I think that can help us," Singleton said. "We can have a lot of different threats. My thing is balance and consistency."
Eastside will look to work out of the back and keep things spread out at Cousins Field, which Singleton was told is wider than Westside's home pitch.
"Offensively we need to spread the ball around," Singleton said. "We're not going to be one dimensional. We need to involve four or five girls on every attack."
The Lady Eagles will look to keep Westside from maximizing its attack with a strong backline.
"We need to maintain our back line defensively, and make sure we keep everybody together communicating," Singleton said. "If we do that I think we're going to have positive results."
Eastside finished the season with three wins and a tie after falling to Class AAAA's 10th-ranked team Heritage. Prior to the meeting with Heritage, Eastside had won six straight, giving up just one goal.
That pressure is what Singleton hopes can carry over into today's match and help propel the Lady Eagles to their first second-round appearance. Eastside has reached the playoffs in each of the last four seasons, including the three Singleton has been head coach.
In 2011, the Lady Eagles fell to Mary Persons 4-1 in the first round.
"This is probably one of the best opportunities we have had, as far as being equal to our opponent and truly having the opportunity to advance," Singleton said.