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PREP SOCCER: Lady Eagles drop region opener to Woodward Academy
Eastside Soccer
Eastside goalkeeper Anna Shelton makes one of her many saves Thursday night against Woodward Academy. - photo by George Harrison

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. — The Eastside Lady Eagles lost an epic soccer match to Region 4-AAAA foe Woodward Academy on Thursday evening at Colquitt Stadium in College Park. 

Eastside (3-2, 0-1) entered the match ranked No. 7 in the state in Class AAAA, the highest state ranking ever for the girls’ side. Although the Lady War Eagles (2-1-1, 1-0) entered unranked, they have a recent history of success, advancing to the Elite Eight in 2018 and 2019, the Sweet 16 in 2017 and the Final Four in 2015 and 2016.  

It is said that the single most difficult thing to do in sports is to stop a penalty kick in soccer. In an evenly played first half, a foul called in the Eastside box with only 1:21 left resulted in a penalty kick for the Lady War Eagles that gave Woodward a 1-0 lead at the half. That PK goal would prove to be the difference in a well-played match between two very good squads.

In the second half, Woodward increased its lead to 2-0 on a rocket fired from 27 yards out that went just over Anna Shelton's outstretched arms with 24:38 to play. Less than two and a half minutes later, Eastside's Lizzie Teasley pulled one back on a beautifully executed corner kick that bent into the net so that the Woodward keeper could only knock the ball up into the top of the goal to make it 2-1.  

With about 18 minutes left to play, Eastside defender Karissa Aldridge made a terrific stop at the Eastside goal line on a shot that cleared all but Aldridge and would have added to Woodward's lead.  

“Tough loss today. We played a very good game vs a very good team. Unfortunately we couldn't pull out the win,” Lady Eagle head coach Joel Singleton said. “I felt we were the more deserving team but the final score didn't show that.

"Our defense was excellent today. They held strong the entire night. Woodward Academy had one earned goal and it was on a terrific shot. Anna Shelton continued to play well in goal. Our offense had some chances but we just couldn't get enough.

"I'm proud of the girls. They fought all night, Hopefully we can use this to continue to grow and get better. All of our goals are still ahead of us." 

Next up for Eastside is a Tuesday trip to Hampton, another Region 4-AAAA foe. The girls kick off the evening at 5:30 p.m. with the boys’ match to follow at 7:30 p.m.