Boys soccer roundup: Eastside cruises to district title
Published: Friday, January 27, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 12:38 a.m.
For the third time in four years, the Eastside High School boys soccer team are district champions.
Using new corner-kick strategies to pressure Belleview's goalkeeper, the Rams jumped ahead early and cruised to a 3-1 District 5-3A title Friday.
“In their previous game, I noticed the goalkeeper tends to stay right up on the near post on corner kicks, so I came up with a couple of formations we could use to pressure him,” said Eastside coach Ron Messick.
The Rams (17-5-2) secured their fourth-straight regional playoff berth quickly, with Tyler Miller-Jones and James Davis netting headers 10 minutes apart on two Alex Fethiere corner kicks.
“The leadership on this team is the best I've had in 15 or 16 years of coaching,” said Messick, pointing out senior captains Davis, Pieter De Wolf and T.J. Fillmer. “Not only are they anchors, they're the heart of our team, playing right up through the middle.”
Deep along the sideline later in the the first half, Fethiere nudged a free kick to Tucker Mastin, who served the ball into the box. Belleview defender Jimmy Govier, a senior, appeared to deflect the ball into his own net.
Belleview (16-7-3) found the back of the net with 8 minutes left in the half, when freshman midfielder Nick Couch lobbed a free kick over a wall of Eastside defenders and above goalkeeper Cody Peterson's reach. The Rattlers had another chance to score on senior midfielder Tommy Crenshaw's corner kick, but Peterson fought through the crowd for the save.
Eastside will host District 6-3A runner-up Inverness Citrus on Tuesday at Citizens Field at 7 p.m. Belleview will travel to 6-3A winner Leesburg at the same time, with a potential rematch looming on Friday if both teams win.
District 3-3A: Zach Dennison scored an unassisted goal in overtime in leading the Suwannee Bulldogs to their third straight district title, beating Jacksonville Stanton 1-0. Suwannee, which will be making its third straight playoff appearance, will host Ponte Vedra on Tuesday in the regional quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Stanton will travel to District 4 champion Ponte Vedra Nease on Tuesday.
District 3-1A: St. Augustine St. Joseph shut out host Oak Hall, 3-0, to capture the district title, meaning the Eagles will hit the road in Tuesday's regional quarterfinal. Oak Hall will face District 4 champion Oviedo Master's Academy. This is the Eagles first playoff berth since 2009.
District 1-5A: Kacper Grzeszczak scored both goals for Jacksonville Mandarin in a 2-1 win over Buchholz for the district title. Diego Fisher scored the Bobcats' lone goal. Buchholz travels to the District 2 champion on Tuesday in the regional quarterfinals.