East Bladen High School
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ELIZABETHTOWN – Freshman Gabby Rebollar fired in 2 of East Bladen’s 3 2nd half goals to lead the Lady Eagles to a 3-0 victory over Princeton Monday night in the opening round of the NCHSAA Class 2A Girls Soccer Playoffs.

Coach Jay Raynor’s Lady Eagles, the No. 12 seed in the 2A East, improved to 14-3-1 and will travel to No. 4 seed North Johnston (15-1-3) for a 2nd round game. North Johnston defeated Eastern Wayne 6-1 Monday night.

A free kick resulted in junior Molly Evans scoring the 1st East Bladen goal only 1:12 after halftime. “Jackie (Medina-Leal) served a ball across the face of the goal,” said Raynor. “Acee (Campbell) hit back across the goal. Her shot might have crossed the line, but Molly made sure to finish just in case.”

Raynor added, “Heidi Rebollar earned the free kick from the right side of the box 30 yards out. It was a well-executed free kick.”

Four minutes later the Lady Eagles scored again. “Cydney (Campbell) took a long throw deep in their half and launched it into the box,” stated Raynor. “A Princeton defender misplayed the ball and hand balled it in the area. Gabby stepped up and calmly finished the PK in the lower right corner of the goal.”

Nine minutes into the 2nd half the Rebollar sisters produced the final East Bladen goal. Raynor noted, “Gabby picked off a Princeton pass and worked a combination play with her sister (Heide) before shooting from 20 yards out and beating the keeper.”

“It was a complete team effort tonight,” said Raynor. “Our backs -Leah (McGill), Zoe (Smith), and Anna (Miranda) – had an incredible game tonight. They were disciplined and played simple. Arguably one of the best games that group has had all year. Those ladies were huge for us. They didn’t have to make a lot of plays but when they did they made great decisions.”

Raynor continued, “Our midfield of Heidi, Gabby, and Acee dominated the game. They set the tone from the first whistle. All three were defensively sound but were also factors on the attacking end. Those girls getting involved in the attack helps and it also shows that we were able to keep the ball and get numbers forward.”

East Bladen outshot the Lady Bulldogs 22-3 in the game and 12-1 in the 2nd half.

“Jackie, Nene (Ward), Eli (Padilla), and Molly changed the game in the second half, said Raynor. “They all were more aggressive and forced Princeton into some difficult situations. We capitalized on those situations and kept the game on their end of the field.”

Raynor praised the play of goalie Reese Hester, “Reese didn’t have much to do tonight but she made two outstanding plays. The first was a free kick that was hit around our wall and low. Reese smothered it and made the play among several Princeton girls.”

“Late in the game Reese came up with a 50/50 ball that was hit high into the box,” stated Raynor. “Reese ran out to make the play. While she was in the air I thought there was some contact across her chest and to the back of her legs, but she did a great job of coming down with it and controlling the ball.”

Raynor concluded, “The girls played well and adhered to the game plan. They were disciplined and played hard for each other. I thought the biggest part of the game that we won was with our substitutions. Leah and Macy (Potter) came off the bench for us and instantly made impacts in the game. The game didn’t fall off when we subbed. At times our play picked up because we were able to move pieces around.”

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