GRIFFIN, Ga. -- The Eastside Lady Eagles (11-7-1) were simply unlucky in their 5-0 loss to No. 6 Spalding (16-2) in the second round of the Class AAAA state playoffs Tuesday night in Griffin.
In a match that seemed much tighter than the final score, a 50-50 first half saw the Lady Jaguars take a 1-0 lead with 35:28 on the clock when a Spalding shot was blocked by an Eastside defender's outstretched leg.
Unfortunately the block redirected the ball into the far side of the Lady Eagles’ goal, out of the reach of keeper Anna Shelton.
The score remained 1-0 until an incidental handball was call against an Eastside player setting up a free kick from about 35 yards out that the Lady Jaguars sent up and over
Shelton's outstretched arms and into the upper left-hand corner of the Eastside goal.
Spalding made it 3-0 at the half when a Lady Jaguar shot bounced off the keeper’s hands, up and over her head, and into the goal before she could collect it.
Shelton made three saves in the first half for Eastside. The Lady Eagles had three shots in the half, one by Aralyn Everett that went wide left on a breakaway opportunity off a punt from Shelton, just after Spalding took that 1-0 lead.
Later Eastside's Lauren Gates tried to serve a ball to Malaya Yamasaki but the ball went just over Yamasaki's header attempt in front of the Spalding goal. With just under 10 minutes left in the half, Madison Morvik fired a long shot that was gathered in by the Spalding keeper.
The Lady Jaguars dominated play and possession the first half of the second stanza.
With 32:13 left in the match, Spalding increased its lead to 4-0 on their best goal of the night — an interception of an Eastside throw-in that was carried 70 yards by the eventual goal scorer before she passed the ball back to a trailing teammate who sent a through-ball back to her that she volleyed into the goal.
Shelton made two second half saves before Emily Manfredi replaced her in goal with 25:32 remaining.
Eastside finally awoke when Morvik sent a long ball up to Everett who successfully played the ball around the Spalding goal-keeper but was taken down by the keeper on what appeared to be a scoring opportunity.
A yellow card was issued to the Lady Jaguars keeper, but the resulting free kick sailed high and ricocheted harmlessly off the crossbar of the football goalposts.
Everett followed with a long shot that was saved by the Lady Jaguars’ keeper with just over 20 minutes left, and a free kick by Morvik was wide right with 16:52 to play.
Spalding scored the final goal of the match with 11 minutes left on the clock on a free kick that was forwarded into the far left side of the Eastside goal to provide the final margin.
Manfredi made one save in her time in goal. It came with just over seven minutes left in the game.
Despite the end to Eastside’s season, it was a successful 2018 campaign, all-in-all that saw the Lady Eagles return to the state playoffs for the first time since 2012, set a new single season record for goals scored with 94 and advance to the Sweet 16 for only the second time in program history.
Spalding now advances to the Elite Eight. The shutout was the Jaguars’ 11th of the season in 18 games. They will host White County Friday night. White County upset No. 7 Northwest Whitfield in PKs Tuesday night.