ELIZABETHTOWN –Senior Katie Evans and junior Maya McDonald both fired in ‘Hat Tricks’ of 3 goals each Wednesday night as East Bladen celebrated Senior Night with an 8-0 Three Rivers Conference girls’ soccer victory over East Columbus.
McDonald banged in the only Lady Eagle goal of the first half in the 21st minute.
Photos by Kenneth Armstrong
“A lot of emotion goes into Senior Night and I think that could have potentially played into our slow start,” said East Bladen Coach Jay Raynor. “We had a lot of good looks in the first half but either just missed the mark or their keeper made a nice save. Both games this week have seemed sluggish to begin with. We can’t afford to do that. We have to come out and start stronger.”
Evans led the Lady Eagles 7-0 second half blitz by racking up all 3 of her goals and both of her assists in the second half. “Katie really got it going in the second half,” stated Raynor. “She was much more aggressive and made numerous plays. Katie is our engine and we feed off her energy.“
McDonald delivered her other 2 goals and an assist after halftime. “Maya had another solid performance,” said Raynor. “No surprise that teams are marking her with numerous girls. Maya was still able to put 3 away and got loose several other times. Her energy level and competitive drive really kicked in during the second half.”
Photos by Kenneth Armstrong
Sophomore Cydney Campbell stretched the East Bladen lead to 7-0 with a goal in the 68th minute. “Cydney and Acee (Campbell) also seemed to find their grooves during the second half,” noted Raynor. “They put in a lot of work and were up and down the sidelines for us. They both did great jobs of putting themselves in positions to make plays and score. Cydney did just that and really starting beating girls to balls late in the second half.”
Senior Joesphina Torres scored off of a corner kick with under 10 minutes left to play. “It was a fantastic goal and a hustle play,” said Raynor. “She beat the defender and goal keeper to the ball and one-timed it in.”
The 5 Lady Eagle seniors who were honored at halftime included: Torres, Evans, Kenia Medina, Sara Gargala and Lily Lin. “All have given a lot to our program,” noted Raynor. “Celebrated our seniors at halftime and followed that with some team as well as personal challenges. We showed glimpses of impressive soccer. This group is capable of great things when they believe it and work hard.”
Medina is out with a broken foot but is still leading from the bench according to Raynor. “Sara is playing some of the best soccer I have ever seen her play,” stated Raynor. “She’s our pivot and everything builds around her position. Her leadership has also helped grow our underclassmen.”
Lin had 1 save in goal on 2 shots. “She wasn’t challenged much but came up big when she needed to,” said Raynor.
“Joesphina has come a long way this year,” continued Raynor. “She has learned a lot and grown within our system. Was proud of her getting a goal tonight but more proud of how she got it. She works hard and hustles. That goal was a hustle play and happy she did that on her Senior night.”
Raynor concluded, “Merritt (Martin), Zoe (Smith), and Molly (Evans) are doing well for us in the back. Those three work well together and are all on the same page. They are tough and handle the pressure when it comes their way. Emma McDuffie made some big stops for us in the back tonight. Everyone got some minutes tonight but I wish everyone could’ve gotten more.
“Reese (Hester) also had a tremendous second half,” added Raynor. “She was much more physical and confident. Reese made some tough plays and mixed it up quite well.”
The Lady Eagles improved to 3-0 in league play and 9-0 overall. East Bladen will host West Columbus Monday at 5:30.