COVINGTON, Ga. — Coach Joel Singleton's Eastside Lady Eagles may have played their best match as a team thus far this campaign Tuesday evening at Homer Sharp Stadium.
The Luella Lady Lions came to town with a perfect 2-0 record in Region 4-AAAA, sitting atop the region in a tie with Druid Hills and averaging over 8 goals per match. The Lady Eagles were playing without two of their key members, midfielder and co-captain Elizabeth Ozburn, who had to sit out due to an injury sustained late in their last match, and Katie Oakley, who is away training with the Jamaican National team this week, their selection week.
Luella took an early lead in the match at the 33:50 mark when Maddie Parris scored off a corner kick delivery from Khi Walker. Eastside quickly found the equalizer just over a minute later when Aralyn Everett scored off an assist from Hannah Scharf.
Eastside surged ahead, 2-1, with 30:04 remaining in the first half off a combination assist, a long thru ball from Kyli Greer that Everett one-touched over to a charging Mya Cummings who fired the ball into the Lady Lions net. A long period of excellent defense followed.
Everett put the Lady Eagles up 3-1 when she outraced a defender to a long ball off the foot of Lizzie Teasley, played the ball around the defender, and netted her shot 12:12 before the halftime break.
Luella came close to pulling one back when Amari Thomas sent a cannon shot from long distance that careened hard off the Eastside cross bar at the 11:07 mark. Later, Lady Eagles Anna Shelton, Jordyn Jones and Karissa Aldridge combined to reject a dangerous Luella cross that passed in front of the goalmouth inside the 6-yard box.
Eastside went into halftime with a 3-1 advantage.
The second half saw Cummings score her second goal with 34:27 left in the match off an assist from Lauren Davis to increase Eastside's lead to 4-1. Just like in the first half, a long period of strong defensive play followed that included an excellent save by Shelton with about 15 minutes left.
Greer made it 5-1 when she sent a rejected Eastside corner kick into the Luella net with 7:08 on the clock. With 4:54 remaining, Luella's Kennady Moore scored on a breakaway off a ball from Thomas that made it 5-2. Teasley sent one of her patented David Beckham-style corner kicks in that Lilly Oftedal got her foot on for good measure to stretch the lead to 6-2 with 3:55 left. Less than one minute later, Gina Leal threw the ball in to Oftedal who sent it right back to Leal who sent a flighted ball up and over the Luella keeper's head and into the goal to make the final score 7-2.
"Great win today,” Singleton said after the game. "The effort and level of play was much better for us. Luella has been an explosive team this year and our defense did a great job today. The biggest difference was our offensive aggression. We really set the tone early. I challenged Aralyn and Mya to come out firing and they got us going early. Charlotte Abernathy and Lauren Davis were excellent today. They've been playing JV and Varsity and we needed them to play big today and they really did.”
With the victory, the No. 10 Lady Eagles improve to 5-3 overall and 2-1 in 4-AAAA, while Luella falls to 6-2-1, 2-1 in 4-AAAA. Druid Hills now sits alone atop the region at 2-0. Eastside will travel to take on No. 5 Columbus this Friday with kickoff scheduled for 6 pm.