Eastside ousted by Eustis


Eustis’ Kristy Vidler, center, steals the ball away from Eastside’s Haley Burger during their match on Thursday.

Rayiaz Khan/Correspondent
Published: Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 28, 2011 at 12:24 a.m.

For the fourth straight year, the Eastside girls soccer team reached the regional quarterfinals. And for the fourth straight year, the Rams found themselves on the short end of the score.

On a chilly Thursday night at Citizens Field, Eustis’ twin force of Brooke and Lauren Smith was enough to eliminate Eastside, 2-1, in a Class 4A, Region 2 quarterfinal.

Brooke Smith scored both of the Panthers’ goals, one in each half, and her twin sister, Lauren, provided assists for both.

“Our game ended like this last year, when we lost 2-1 (to Harmony),” said Rams forward Sarah Landauer. “It’s disappointing that it ends like this again. They just had more speed than what we are used to playing against.”

Eustis, which reached the Class 4A state semifinals last year, has won a playoff game for the fifth straight season. And like she was last year as a sophomore, forward Brooke Smith was the main offensive weapon, taking 12 of her team’s 20 shots at Eastside senior goalkeeper Grace Chrzanowski. The Panthers’ speed pushed the tempo and created several good scoring opportunities for their standout.

“Eustis is definitely a really good team,” said Rams coach Emily Ott. “They are all very skilled players and are well coached. We were definitely trying to mix things up a little bit, and I think we kind of ran out of gas.”

Down 2-0 after Brooke Smith’s second goal of the night at the 52nd minute, the Rams were in serious trouble. But the match changed when Eastside’s freshman middlefielder Maddison Burger made a perfect feed to sophomore Caroline Sarmiento eight yards in front of the net, and she kicked it in. That Pulled the Rams to within a goal in the 59th minute of the game. That goal seemed to renew Eastside’s efforts, as it made several offensive attacks. The most serious was with one minute left when Landauer had a short shot blocked by Eustis goaltender Hannah Wilson.

“We had some chances and had some really good looks, especially like the first three minutes of the game,” said Ott, whose team had 16 shots at the goal. “Sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way. I thought we played a really high-paced, exciting game. I was really proud of my team.”

Eastside (16-6-1) was the aggressor early, having a pair of shots at goal inside the opening four minutes. Rams middlefielder Jennifer Kizza made a terrific save with Chrzanowski out of the box, and a Brooke Smith shot heading toward the goal. Eustis kept the offensive pressure on, and Brooke Smith scored her first goal at the 21st minute.

She struck again early in the second half, again with her sister, Lauren, delivering a long feed, as Eustis (19-5-1) opened a 2-0 lead.

“As everyone settled into their game, I thought we settled down a little too much,” said Panther coach Wayne Lockett. “We went away from the quick play and tried to be more precise with our passing. I think that hurt us.

“For the most part this season Brooke has been triple-teamed, so we usually look for other players. But tonight, as we opened up, I was surprised they didn’t cover her like that. So we took advantage of it.”

Eustis advances to a rematch at Harmony in the Class 4A, Region 2 semifinals on Tuesday. The Panthers lost to the St. Cloud school, 3-1, in the District 6 championship.

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