ROCKY POINT – Junior Heidi Rebollar and sophomore Jackie Medina-Leal scored 2 goals each and dished out 1 assist each to lead East Bladen’s Lady Eagles to a 4-1 non-conference girls’ soccer victory over Heide Trask Thursday night.
Heidi Rebollar drilled in a penalty kick in the 19th minute for the 1st Lady Eagle goal. Senior Cydney Campbell drew a foul in the box that led to the penalty kick.
Five minutes later Medina-Leal banged in a shot from 12 yards out that curled just inside the left post. East Bladen outshot Trask 10-3 in the 1st half and 18-5 for the game.
The Lady Titans scored their goal 3 minutes into the 2nd half. “Reese (Hester) made a great save on a shot from the corner,” said Lady Eagle Coach Jay Raynor. “Reese pushed the shot off the crossbar and it found the back of the 6 yard box. Miss communication and not attacking the initial loose ball resulted in Trask having several attempts on goal before one shot finally found the back of the net.”
Midway the 2nd half Heidi converted an indirect free kick from 7 yards out to pad the lead to 3-1. “Trask goalkeeper made a save and was working out of the box when she put the ball down,” stated Raynor. “Nene (Ward) pressed her, forced her to make a play and she picked the ball back up. Jackie put the kick in play and Heidi curled it into the back right corner.”
In the 71st minute, Heidi Rebollar turned a Medina-Leal pass into the final East goal. Raynor said, “Heidi played a short corner to Jackie and Jackie was able to drive into the box and hit a shot from just inside the left side of the 18 yard box and curled it into the right corner.”
“Tonight was a big win,” noted Raynor. “We played a great opponent at their place and got a great result. We converted 3 set pieces into goals and got a run of play goal. We controlled the flow of the game and dominated the midfield. We worked hard and played a complete game from start to finish.”
Raynor continued, “I thought everyone played well and played for each other. This allowed Doc (Assistant Coach Cross) and I to focus on adjustments and substitutions rather than having to be involved in every part of the game. The girls owned it and owned the game tonight. It sure is a lot of fun and easier on everyone when they play hard and play for each other.
“Cyd (Campbell) had the game of her high school career tonight,” said Raynor. “She made play after play and was up and down the left flank all night. Cyd was extremely aggressive and took girls off the dribble to make some dangerous passes into our forwards. Cyd’s run into the box midway through the first half drew the foul and resulted in a PK. We talk about running through the ball and not letting up and Cyd did just that all night.”
Raynor added, “Our game changers off the bench did a phenomenal job as well. Leah (McGill) and Simone (Blanks) were sparks of energy that got the job done when we needed it. Leah was called on right much tonight and made the most of time in the field. Leah provided lots of pressure as well as helped generate some attacks.
“Our backs had a great game and Zoe (Smith) was locked in for 80 minutes,” stated Raynor. “When Zoe brings that type of game, we aren’t going to be beat. Zoe cleaned up several mistakes before they could turn into anything dangerous. Her communication and getting her backs to listen is what stands out for me. I know we sure had to do a lot less yelling about pushing up and that’s a direct result of that group communicating effectively.
“Reese wasn’t forced to make a lot of saves but she made three big saves for us tonight,” said Raynor. “I thought one of her best saves resulted in a goal. She did all she could and we had a slight breakdown in communication on the backside of the goal. Reese is tough and was taken out on her last save but she got right back up and put a smile on her face.”
Raynor continued, “Gabby (Rebollar) and Molly (Evans) were on another level tonight. Molly is a scorer in my opinion but she defends extremely well. She brings a presence to our backs. She never quits and does not back down. She did great getting forward for us tonight but we ended up asking her to sit deeper tonight. Trask had some playmakers and we need Molly as well as Gabby to play more defensive roles.
“Gabby started the game up top for us but within the first ten minutes I felt she would better serve us in the back,” explained Raynor. “ Gabby didn’t hesitate and dropped back for us. Gabby made numerous key stops and also generated some attacks with her long service.
“Heidi and Acee (Campbell) dominated the midfield,” stated Raynor. “Acee is so smooth in midfield. She’s able to see the play developing and is able to break them up before they happen. Acee is also becoming more comfortable on the ball. Several times Acee would make a play on the ball and then dribble into a space, starting an attack. Acee is a complete player and having her not only defending but also generating attacks and creating shots for herself is what we need.
“Heidi was great for us tonight and had a big night,” continued Raynor. “Heidi scored 2 and got an assist but did so much more than that. Heidi dominated her space and got the ball off her foot a lot quicker tonight. Heidi playing into Jackie as well as Nene kept Trask pinned back for a majority of the game.”
Raynor added, “Jackie as well as Nene set the tone for the game tonight. Nene played with the confidence that we need her to play with. Nene didn’t make the score line but she did everything on the field and then some more. Nene pressed and did not let up. I thought she would have been tired but she never stopped and didn’t need a sub. We were able to get her some minutes prior to halftime and at the end of the game but she didn’t need them. Proud of her and her effort. When your forwards press hard and play like Nene and Jackie played tonight, it really fires all the girls up and drives them to play harder.
“It was a complete game for us,” said Raynor. “We have improved in a lot of areas since our last game. We controlled the game and dominated the dead ball situations and restarts.”
Raynor concluded, “We looked more fit and more confident especially on the ball than we did our last time out. I give credit to my Dad for that. He has been working with the girls on individual ball skills prior to our training and it’s paying off. When you can control the ball you are more confident. I saw our girls making plays tonight that were more consistent than have been this season.
“You can tell a lot by a team when they score and when they get scored on,” said Raynor. “Tonight when we scored, we were smiling and everyone celebrating together. When we were scored on, we had positive body language, great communication, and heads up on the kickoff. Those responses speak volumes about this young team.”
The Lady Eagles raised their overall record to 8-3-1 and will be idle until after the Easter break when they travel to Whiteville on April 20th.