WHITEVILLE- Junior Heidi Rebollar fired in the 1st East Bladen goal then assisted on the next 3 goals as the Lady Eagles claimed a 4-1 non-conference girls’ soccer victory over Whiteville Wednesday night.
Rebollar banged in her goal in the game’s 3rd minute off of an assist from sophomore Jackie Medina-Leal.
Whiteville tied the game with a goal in the 9th minute. “A miss communication on our backline created a 1-on-1 with our keeper that Whiteville finished,” said Lady Eagle Coach Jay Raynor.
In the 22nd minute, senior Cydney Campbell finished a ball sent in on a corner kick from Heidi Rebollar.
“Our seniors are really putting the team in positions to be successful,” noted Raynor. “That’s Cyd and Acee (Campbell) but also Ranay Bell. Ranay is our manager and is responsible for a lot. Those three seniors and their leadership are big reasons why we are being successful.”
In the 35th minute, freshman Gabby Rebollar took a pass from her sister Heidi and beat the Whiteville keeper with a shot from 30 yards out that padded the lead to 3-1.
“Acee and Heidi completely dominated the midfield,” stated Raynor. “We made a few adjustments that opened the game up for both of those girls. They did well controlling the tempo and play throughout the game.”
East scored again two minutes before halftime. Raynor said, “Eliana (Padilla) made a brilliant run and took a pass from Heidi then finished a beautiful shot for the 4-1 score at half.”
Raynor noted, “Eliana has been on her game lately as well. She is great on the ball. I was happy to see her put that goal away. She works hard and puts herself in good situations. We are still evolving as a team especially in the attacking phase and I feel that Eliana is a key piece to unlock our full potential. Another key is getting Molly (Evans) to join that attack.”
Neither team scored in the 2nd half. “It was a great game for us,” stated Raynor. “Playing at Whiteville has always been a challenging place to play. Today was no different. It was a tough and physical game.”
East Bladen outshot Whiteville 19-4 (9-2 first half). “The difference in the game was that we created more chances and we capitalized on those chances,” noted Raynor. “We are becoming more efficient on our set pieces. We did an excellent job of earning corners and created chances from them in the first half. We continue to improve and are moving the ball the best I believe we ever have as a program.”
Raynor continued, “Acee and Molly played extremely well for us tonight. Molly got forward several times and took numerous blows tonight. Molly is tough and has no quit in her. She did great for us in the back. We need her higher up the field because she’s an attacking personality who makes things happen.
“Nene (Ward) and Jackie up top for us created some dangerous chances,” said Raynor. “They are both getting better each time out. Really enjoy seeing those two, go to goal. They both make things happen.
“Gabby played another great game,” said Raynor. “ She doesn’t play like a freshman. Gabby started up top for us because she can score and has a strong leg to hit from distance. We had to move her behind Acee and Heidi because of Whiteville’s counter attack. We were controlling the game and getting forced. On our blocked shots or turnovers, Whiteville was able to use their speed to run at us. Several times Whiteville had numbers up on us. Our backs of Molly, Macy (Potter), Anna, and Zoe (Smith) did great jobs of thwarting those opportunities. Moving Gabby neutralized those counter attacks.”
Raynor added, “Cyd and Eliana worked well in the flanks tonight. Cyd continues to play the best soccer I have seen her play. She has confidence on the ball and attention to detail. Her runs and body shape when receiving the ball are excellent – how it should be. She’s taking girls on and being extremely dangerous on the outside.
“Proud of the girls,” continued Raynor. “Not only for the win but for the way they played and how they led each other. They did it at Trask and again tonight with their play and leadership. Doc and I didn’t have to stand on the sideline and bark instructions. That makes it easier on us and better for the girls. The game is difficult enough and having someone yelling on the sidelines doesn’t help. This group trusts each other, and they play hard for each other.”
Raynor concluded, “Changing a playing style isn’t easy but these girls are doing it in a hurry. The ball moved well for us tonight. We completed passes and switched the field a few times. We are growing each and every day. We looked a little rusty at times but the overall play of the girls was impressive.”
East Bladen improved to 9-3-1 with the win and will return to Southeastern Athletic Conference play Tuesday at Red Springs.