On a cold, windy Wednesday night in Bogart, the Class AAAAA fifth-ranked Eastside Eagles (3-0-1) were tied by the AAAA second-ranked North Oconee (3-0-2) 1-1 in girls soccer.
The first half of the match saw possession dominated by the Titans. Eastside senior goalkeeper Anna Shelton and the Eastside defense turned away multiple scoring opportunities by North Oconee. Eastside created few opportunities of their own until junior Bailey Love put a long flighted free kick into the side netting of the Lady Titans goal with only 3:59 left in the first half. The Eagles carried the 1-0 lead into the halftime break.
The second half saw momentum switch early to the Eagles but they could not increase their 1-0 lead. With 35:06 on the clock, Katie Oakley sent a long pass down the far sideline to Aralyn Everett who crossed the ball to Lauren Davis inside the North Oconee 6-yard box. The Titans goalkeeper made the save on Davis' shot. Once the Titans regained their composure, Shelton was forced to make some excellent saves that kept North Oconee scoreless. The big play of the game came when an Eastside defender was called for a foul in the box that resulted in a penalty kick for the Titans with 15:29 left to play. On video replay after the match, there appeared to be little or no contact involved in the play. North Oconee senior Carly Lantz converted the PK to knot the match at 1-1 and that is how the game would end.
North Oconee had 9 corner kicks to only 1 for Eastside. Shelton was credited with 13 saves and multiple defensive plays. Eagle defenders Jordyn Jones, Lauren Gates, Karissa Aldridge and Hannah Scharf all contributed to the terrific Eastside defensive effort.
After the battle Eastside Head Coach Joel Singleton said: "We played an excellent team in North Oconee. They are fast, skilled and make you earn everything. I'm proud of us for really hanging in there with them. We played very frantic in the first half and didn't play our way or pace at all. The free kick by Bailey was huge for us. Aralyn made a great run on the ball to set it up."
Coach Singleton went on to say: "At half we talked about gaining possession more and doing more to slow the game down so we'd have a chance to make some plays, especially on our end of the field. Anna and the defense gave us the chance to be in it. I'm proud of the effort. This was a great playoff type game for us."
In the nightcap, the Eastside Eagles (3-0-1) came from behind late to tie the North Oconee Titans (2-2-1) by the same 1-1 score.
After a scoreless first half, the Titans scored to take a 1-0 lead with 25 minutes left to play.
The Eagles would knot the match at 1-1 with less than 5 minutes remaining when Demba Fofana scored off a Tanner Beam corner kick.
Both Eastside teams return home to Sharp Stadium Friday to take on Woodward Academy.
The Lady Eagles kickoff at 5:30 p.m. and the Eagles at 7:30 p.m.