06/23/2024
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WHITEVILLE – Junior Iveonna “NeNe” Ward fired in 2 goals to lead East Bladen to a 4-0 Waccamaw Conference girls’ soccer victory over Whiteville Tuesday night.

Coach Jay Raynor’s Lady Eagles improved to 7-2 in the Waccamaw and 10-2-1 overall. East Bladen will celebrate their Senior Night Friday when the Lady Wolfpack, 2-5 in the Waccamaw and 3-11 overall, visit East Bladen.

Senior Heidi Rebollar drilled in a shot from 20 yards out past the Whiteville keeper to open the scoring in the 12th minute.

Six minutes later junior Jackie Medina-Leal delivered an assist to Ward to pad the East lead to 2-0. “Jackie beat the left back and dribbled to the end line then played a perfect pass across the face of the goal and Nene was there to finish it,” said Raynor. “It was a great pass and a great finish. The entire sequence was perfect. Jackie made a great 1 v 1 move to get to the end line and a great cross to find her teammate wide open for the goal. Gorgeous soccer right there.”

A minute before halftime East scored again. Raynor described it, “Heidi played a ball past their backline who were sitting at midfield. Nene made a play on the ball and beat two defenders with her speed and finished a hard shot in the corner. Nene plays so hard and it was good to see her get those goals tonight. She had a big assist last night and those two goals were what tipped the game in our favor tonight. Happy for her and her teammates were as well.”

In the 2nd half, sophomore Gabby Rebollar took a short corner kick and the ball was played back to her. “She took a touch and ripped a shot from distance on the right side and scored an amazing goal,” noted Raynor. “Precision and power. Their keeper made some great saves tonight but with the pace and placement of that shot there wasn’t any way she or anyone else could have saved that shot.”

Medina-Leal finished with 2 assists for East Bladen. “The play of Jackie and Heidi tonight was off the charts,” said Raynor. “Jackie dominated and played great soccer. We made a tactical adjustment for the game tonight and she did exactly what was asked of her. Heidi also played at a high level and got her teammates involved. We shared the ball more tonight than we have in a long time. Not only did we share the ball but for the most part we made good soccer decisions on and off the ball.”

Raynor continued, “We have moved Gabby and Zoe (Smith) around and both have dominated their areas. Those loses to Trask stung but they also showed us some areas we needed to improve in within our system. We have made those adjustments and so far they seem to have us tracking in the right direction.”

The Potters (Macy and Marlee) had great nights for us,” said Raynor. “Their communication, their decision making, and their presence on and off the ball helped us dominate the game. Whiteville didn’t have many opportunities. The chances they did have, those two as well and Gabby and Zoe neutralized them before they could turn into anything dangerous.”

Raynor continued, “Anna (Miranda) had a great performance for us. We asked her to do some things differently than what we have been doing tactically. I thought she took those tactics and applied them exactly how I wanted them. She was defensively strong and she also got involved in our attacks and helped us retain possession. Proud of the girls. Two tough games back-to-back that resulted in two great results.”

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