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PREP SOCCER: Lady Eagles fall to North Oconee in home opener
Eastside Soccer
The 2020 Eastside Lady Eagles captains (in black) meet the North Oconee captains along with both team's head coaches and the match referees before the home opener for Eastside on Friday evening at Homer Sharp Stadium. - photo by George Harrison

COVINGTON, Ga. — Fresh off their big win over Heritage earlier this week, the Eastside Lady Eagles opened their home soccer slate with a loss against the North Oconee Lady Titans on Friday night at Homer Sharp Stadium. 

In an evenly-played first half that saw both teams’ defensive units stand out, the Lady Titans opened the scoring with just under eleven minutes left in the half. A beautiful thru-ball created a breakaway opportunity for North Oconee. 

Eastside keeper Anna Shelton came off her line to try to defend but the Lady Titan attacker managed to send a shot just out of Shelton's reach. The ball hit off the far post and ricocheted in for the opening goal that would prove to be the game-winner. 

The Lady Eagles almost found the equalizer within the first minute of the second half when Bailey Love sent a long shot from the far right that hit off the crossbar. The ball bounced back out in front of the goal and was cleared by a defender, but Eastside's Lauren Davis regained possession and sent a pass to Aralyn Everett who sent a strong shot on goal that the Lady Titan's keeper gathered in for the save to preserve the 1-0 lead for North Oconee.  

With just over 26 minutes left in the match, the Lady Titans stretched their lead to 2-0 when a long shot from in front of the Eastside goal that bounced off the crossbar and down in front of the goal before being fired into the net from just outside the 6-yard box. 

"We had a good effort all night. North is very good; we knew that coming in," Eastside head coach Joel Singleton said. "They were able to control the tempo most of the night."

In a game that featured defense, Eastside (1-1) keeper Shelton recorded 18 saves. North Oconee (2-0) has yet to give up a goal in two matches. 

"We had plenty of opportunities but couldn't find the back of the net," Singleton noted. "We had some close shots on our corners but couldn't finish. That's an area we'll continue to work on. It's early. We're still trying to figure some things out, but I'm excited about several things I saw today.

"Bailey Love and Katie Oakley both played very well. Their improvement from last year to this year is really showing up. Anna Shelton, once again, played a heck of a game and kept us in it the entire night. She didn't feel well so it was a big effort on her part. They bottled up Aralyn Everett and Mya Cummings. We've got to have those two active on offense for us to be successful. Lauren Gates continued her strong defense in the back and our defense is still learning each other."

The Lady Eagles will travel to Clarke Central on Tuesday. North Oconee defeated Clarke, 7-0. Meanwhile, the Lady Titans will play Heritage at home that same night. Eastside beat Heritage, 2-1. 

In the boys’ match on Friday, Eastside (1-0-1) never trailed and prevailed 4-2. The two teams traded goals in the first half that ended 2-2. Creighton Goerner scored both first-half goals for the Eagles. Senior Wesley Hudgins scored the game-winner in the second half for Eastside and Goerner notched a hat trick when he converted a penalty kick late in the match.