Eastside boys advance on penalty kicks


Eastside rushes toward the goal after teammate Daniel Bernstein kicked the game-winning goal to defeat Columbia in the District 5A-4 semifinals on Wednesday night at Jervey Gantt Park in Ocala.

Doug Engle/Staff Photographer
Published: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 12:21 a.m.

OCALA — Columbia dominated nearly every facet of Wednesday’s District 5A-4 boys soccer semifinal showdown against Eastside — with one exception.

Problem is, that exception’s name is Jovaughn Howard, and the high-octane Eastside striker accounted for all three of his team’s goals as the Rams built an early lead, then held on as the Tigers forced overtime. After two extra sessions ended in a deadlock, Eastide’s Daniel Bernstein drilled the game-winner in the second round of penalty kicks to clinch the 4-3 upset win.

“The guys just decided they weren’t going to lose tonight,” Rams first-year coach Steve Holloway said.

Third-seeded Eastside (17-9-0) advances to Friday’s championship game against No. 5 Ocala Forest, which knocked off No. 1 Gainesville in the nightcap.

Columbia, the district’s No. 2 seed, dominated at midfield throughout the first half and claimed a 1-0 lead just three minutes in on David Bell-Higgins’ score.

According to Holloway, however, early deficits aren’t a cause for concern with the Rams.

“We’ve had about seven games where the other team has scored on us in the first five minutes,” he said, “and we came back and won all seven.”

Eastside struggled to advance past midfield early, but those few times they did, Howard’s blazing speed proved near-impossible to handle.

Howard burst forward to capitalize on a pair of Tiger defensive lapses to score goals in the 28th and 39th minutes to give the Rams the lead.

Just nine minutes after the intermission, Howard had another breakaway and was taken down in the box, setting up a penalty kick for teammate James Davis, who delivered for a 3-1 advantage.

Columbia kept fighting, closed to within 3-2 on Geoff Beardsley’s goal, then tied it with 13 minutes remaining when Joye Nax connected on Michael Smith’s throw-in.

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