Staff photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith Eastside's Morgan Green (18) tries to get past Apalachee's Victoria Cochran during the first half of Tuesday's game at Homer Sharp Stadium.
COVINGTON -- If playing a good non-conference opponent is to help a team work on their weaknesses, then the Lady Eagles got what they wanted as Apalachee came in and schooled Eastside with a 4-1 win on Tuesday at Homer Sharp Stadium.
"We have to play our positions," Eastside head coach Joel Singleton said. "We had trouble in the first half letting the defense curl in. When you do that you let the other team dictate the tempo. Their speed was superior to ours (Tuesday). We have solid team speed, they have really good team speed. They dictated the tempo keeping the field spread wide because they stayed in position. We tended to overcrowd and bunch."
It didn't take long for the Lady Wildcats (4-3 overall, 1-1 Area 8-AAAAA) to go on the attack and exploit Eastside's (2-4, 0-2 Area 8-AAAA) defense. After pounding the ball several times at the target, Apalachee's Katie Zoller broke the plane of the goal line three minutes into the game.
The Lady Eagles took the fight to Apalachee but they could not penetrate the Lady Wildcats defense.
Apalachee turned up the heat at the midway point by scoring two goals in a two-minute span despite the determination of Eastside keeper Carly Farrow to keep the ball out of the goal.
Farrow finished the game with 17 saves.
"If it wasn't for her it could've been a much different case," Singleton said. "They're a good offensive team. We haven't beaten them, ever, but we play them closer each year."
On both goals, by Ashley Burton and Brooke Stephens, Farrow had knocked the ball away numerous times before the ball seemed to find its way to the goal.
Apalachee made it 4-0 with 6:43 left in the first half when Stephanie Cardona's kick snuck inside of the post.
"They have three strikers that are really skilled and all three of them scored on those early goals," Singleton said. "We had a few mental lapses before halftime but that's been our M.O. unfortunately. We give up one or two early, then we settle down."
All of the Lady Eagles' (2-4 overall, 0-2 in Area 8-AAAA) attempts finally paid off in the second half. After being knocked down, Kari Dylong had a free kick from the edge of the box where she loped the ball into the opposite back corner of the net.
Despite trailing by three goals and unable to consistently move the ball on the Lady Wildcats in the second half, Eastside played like it was only a goal down, never giving up.
"I told the girls at halftime 'We need to talk, we need to quit diving and playing careless, and the third thing we need to do is work together," Singleton said. If we do that, things will balance out."