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PREP SOCCER: Both Eastside teams easily take down Walnut Grove ahead of key region matchups with Woodward Academy
Eastside Soccer
Senior McKenna Walker (No. 22 in green) turned in an outstanding defensive performance against Walnut Grove. -photo by Mike Harrison

COVINGTON, Ga. — It was a clean sweep for Eastside's varsity soccer teams against Walnut Grove Tuesday night.

In girls action, Eastside freshman Katie Oakley notched her second brace of the young season and led the Lady Eagles (4-0) to a 2-0 victory over the Walnut Grove Lady Warriors Tuesday night at Homer Sharp Stadium. 

Oakley scored the game-winner with 7:33 left in the first half when she intercepted a Lady Warrior pass deep in Walnut Grove territory and put it in the back of the net. 

Goalkeeper Faith Jackson played outstanding for Walnut Grove, making several athletic saves, to keep the Lady Warriors in the match, two coming with under five minutes left in the first half.  

Similarly, the play of Eastside keeper Anna Shelton earned her third clean sheet in four games.  Lady Eagle defenders, seniors McKenna Walker and Malaya Yamasaki, along with sophomore Lauren Gates and freshman Jordyn Jones, limited the number of scoring opportunities the Lady Warriors had throughout the match. 

Jackson twice made saves to stop Eastside breakaways in the first eight minutes of the 2nd half. The Lady Eagles finally broke through when Oakley stole the ball from a Lady Warrior, dribbled to the middle of the field, around and through several Walnut Grove defenders, and launched a missile from just beyond the penalty spot to make it 2-0 Eastside with 24:29 left to play. 

Shelton made three of her four saves after that to complete the shutout.

Historically, the 4-0 start is the best for Eastside since the 2009 Lady Eagles won their first six matches to start 6-0. The 2011 squad went 3-0 before being tied and going on to a 7-0-2 start. The 2010 team lost their first match before winning six straight to start 6-1. 

The Eastside boys game was not as close. The Eagles (3-1-1) dominated play in building an 8-0 lead at the half. If not for the play of Walnut Grove keeper Justin Mills, this match would not have made it 40 minutes. Mills had more highlight reel saves than Eastside had goals in the first half. 

Chris Overfelt had a foot in half of the Eagles first half goals as he recorded three — one a penalty kick —  plus an assist. 

The scoring came early and often for Eastside.

Eastside took the lead with 28:22 left in the first stanza when Jordan Beam sent a through ball to Jackson Jolley who assisted Liam McGiboney from short range on the eventual game-winner. 

Liam McGiboney
Eastside sophomore Liam McGiboney started the scoring in the Eagles' 8-0 rout of Walnut Grove. -photo by Ben Ennis

Ant Lee made it 2-0 when he scored off a shot that was deflected by Mills with 23:29 on the clock. Jolley made it 3-0 with an assist from Overfelt with 15:07 left. Overfelt scored twice and Kade Mote once to push the score to 6-0. The Warrior defenders took down Eagles in the 18-yard box resulting in two penalty kicks in rapid succession. Wesley Hudgins converted his penalty kick before Overfelt converted his to make it 8-0 at the half.  

Coach Champ Young played every player he had available in the time-shortened second half, including several JV players getting their first varsity minutes. 

The 3-1-1 start is the best for the boys side since the 2011 squad started 3-1-1 on its way to a 5-1-1 start. The 2009 team won its first four games on the way to a 6-1 start. 

Both Eastside squads are back in action at Homer Sharp Stadium Thursday night when they play Woodward Academy in critical Region 4-AAAA matchups. The Woodward boys are currently ranked No. 4 in the state while their girls team is ranked ninth.

Thursday’s games start at 5:30 pm with girls action kicking off first.