Eastside girls soccer ousted in 2OT

Published: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 12:03 a.m.

With two minutes left in the second 10-minute overtime and the score tied, it appeared as though a penalty kick shootout was going to be needed to decide Tuesday night's Class 3A, Region 2 quarterfinal between Eastside and Brooksville Nature Coast.

That was until Nature Coast's Hailey Lalande unloaded a rocket shot from about 40 yards straight away.

The ball sailed past Eastside's leaping goalkeeper Jordan Fulkerson and into the top left corner of the net.

The golden goal in the 98th minute lifted the Sharks to a dramatic 3-2 victory and brought a heartbreaking end to the Rams season at Citizens Field.

Nature Coast (17-2-1) was victorious in its first ever regional playoff game, while Eastside (13-5-3) is still looking for its first regional playoff win since 2002.

"I saw the girl shooting, I thought it was going wide, it looked like it was over and to the left," said Eastside first-year coach Jenn Richards. "There is no way that I am disappointed in them and I don't think any of them are disappointed in each other, it is just the outcome that they are disappointed in."

Both clubs battled back and forth throughout the night in what was a hard fought and physical match, that featured three yellow cards.

The Sharks wasted little time getting going in their first postseason contest. Emily Myers raced down the left side and sent a pass in front of the goal. Silvana Paonessa tapped in the nice feed to give Nature Coast a 1-0 edge in the second minute of the match.

The score remained that way heading into halftime. However, Eastside's Sarah Collings scored on a breakaway from 12 yards away in the third minute of the second half to deadlock the match at 1-1. With seven minutes remaining in the second half, the Sharks caught a break. Eastside defender Raisa Alstodt tried to intercept a Sharks throw in deep in Rams territory. The ball hit Alstodt in the arm. She was in the box at the time and the referee called a hand ball and thus awarded Nature Coast a penalty kick. Paonessa buried the shot in the lower right corner of the net.

The Sharks seemed to have the contest won, until the Rams' Haley Burger broke into the open with two minutes left in regulation. The senior lined a shot past Sharks goalkeeper Samantha Oliveira to tie the score at 2-2 igniting a load roar from the home side of the stands.

Eastside outshot Nature Coast 12-8, with Fulkerson stopping 5 shots, while Oliveira made 10 saves. Emma London had an assist for the Rams, while Paige Kuhn assisted on the game-winning goal for Nature Coast.

"I told them it was ok to feel what they were feeling because that just meant that they cared," said Richards about her postgame talk with her club. "There were a lot of tears in there. I just wanted to reiterate to them the overall success of the season."

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