Eastside claims third straight district crown

Published: Friday, January 21, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 12:23 a.m.

It wasn't exactly a shot in the dark. It was more like two of them— and they were both indefensible.

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Eastside's Esther Blondeau-Lecomte, left, battles with Belleview's Rebecca Flagg for the ball in the District 5-4A girls soccer championship at Booster Stadium on Friday in Ocala.

Anthony Smith/Correspondent

The Eastside girls soccer team squeezed two remarkable shots through net Wednesday night at Booster Stadium and walked away with a 2-0 win and their third-straight district championship over a fleet-footed Belleview group.

The Rattlers outshot Eastside 7-0 through the first 17 minutes of the District 5-4A final, but were unable to sneak the ball past Rams goalkeeper Grace Chrzanowski, who recorded her 13th shutout of the season.

Belleview pushed the pace early and often until Eastside midfielder Audrey Simone lifted a high-lofting shot that just cleared the goalkeeper's hands with 23 minutes remaining in the first half for a 1-0 lead.

And if that goal didn't do enough damage to the Rattlers' first-half momentum, Rams midfielder Emma London unleashed a 20-yarder that just dropped under the crossbar with 21 minutes remaining in the second half.

“They had some great shots on us. Both shots were great shots,” Belleview head coach Mike Weber said.

Offensively, Belleview outshot Eastside 15-10, and 11-3 in the first half alone. Defensively, the Rattlers showed some different looks by changing their keepers twice, but Eastside's center midfielders hit two balls perfectly.

“They were switching up their keepers so we wanted to keep testing them and catch them off guard — and we did,” Eastside head coach Emily Ott said.

“One of my favorite things about our center-mids is that they can shoot from the outside. Actually, that's pretty much their strengths. When you get them close in sometimes, they're soaring over the goal. It's pretty wet conditions out here tonight, so we were talking about taking lots of shots.”

Three years in a row Belleview has finished as district runner-up to Eastside. The Rattlers have also claimed two district titles to get their fifth regional appearance in the past nine seasons

“I think a lot of it came down to size. They were a much bigger and stronger team than us. We were as fast as them, but they were a little bigger and stronger,” Weber added.

Belleview (17-6) will travel to play the 4A-6 champion while Eastside (16-5-2) will host 6-4A runner-up Eustis on Thursday night.

“Going into this game we were confident that the only team in this district that could beat us was Eastside. In that first 25 minutes, I thought we were just playing a little frantic and not playing the simple ball. And we were basically passing the ball to Belleview every time we got it. So, we adjusted and started passing to our own players and that's how the game turned,” Ott said.

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