A very eager, but inexperienced, Eastside Eagles boys soccer team hung with a bigger, faster more technically sound Lumpkin County Indians program well into the second half of Friday’s region opener, but, in the end, the Indians wore down the Eagles and defeated Eastside 3-1 at Sharp Stadium.
With the loss, Eastside dropped to 3-1on the young season, 0-1 in Region 8-AAAA, while Lumpkin improved to 3-2-2, 1-0-1 in region action.
“We rode the emotion early. It was a really fun atmosphere,” Eagles coach Champ Young said. “We just wore down. They wore us down. They’re a very good team – very technically sound. We were riding hard on emotion, but, it started to show up that we couldn’t quite get the touches like they did.”
Eastside got on the scoreboard 30 seconds into the match as the Indian’s goalie drifted too far from his net. Eagles’ forward Mateus Holanda took advantage, lofting a long shot from the right side that went over the goalie’s head and bounced into the net for a 1-0 lead.
Lumpkin had a chance to tie on a breakaway a few minutes later, but Eagles’ goalie Andres Sarmiento made a brilliant save, preserving Eastside’s lead. However, Lumpkin’s Caleb Fitzpatrick tied the score in the 29th minute, and the teams went to the locker room tied 1-1.
In the second half, Lumpkin began to assert itself with strong midfield defensive play that repeatedly broke up the Eagles’ offensive rushes.
The crucial play of the game occurred at the 32:16 mark of the second period when the Eagles were called for a handball in the penalty box. Lumpkin’s Bruno Lopez converted the penalty kick and gave the Indians a 2-1 lead.
Then, with 13 minutes left in the match, Lumpkin’s Cal Threlkeld intercepted an Eastside pass at midfield, took the ball the other way and blasted an unassisted goal past Sarmiento for the final score and a 3-1 advantage.
The Eagles did get some offensive flow going late in the game and had some scoring opportunities, especially when forward Jacob Alwes’ shot sailed just wide of the net with four minutes left. But, on this night, victory was not in the cards for the Eagles.
Eastside will have to rebound quickly after a late Saturday contest against rival Newton, hosting Walnut Grove at home Tuesday in region play.