EAST LAKE — Tuesday night provided a glimpse of things to come in Class 5A, District 7, and it appears East Lake’s boys and girls teams will be the ones to catch. Both teams pulled away in the second half to sweep Plant and remain undefeated in district play.
East Lake’s girls won 3-1 thanks to two goals by Emily Cady. The boys team won 2-1 on two second-half goals by Josh Page.
The Plant boys led 1-0 at halftime thanks to a penalty kick goal by Zach Thompson. The Panthers controlled play in the first half, but East Lake (5-0) took over in the second.
Page scored the first of his two goals with 36 minutes left when he buried a left-footer from 10 yards past goalkeeper Barrett Lavielle.
With 25 minutes remaining Page got free again in front of the net. This time the Panthers failed to clear the ball. Max Guy headed the ball to Page, who rifled a right-footer from inside 10 yards to make it 2-1.
“We picked up our heads in the second half,” Page said. “We knew we needed this win. We just stepped it up and I was fortunate enough to get the ball those two times and score.”
Plant (0-1-4) got off only two shots on goal after East Lake’s second goal.
“We just didn’t put two halves together,” Plant coach John Feely said. “We kind of let them control the play in the second half. When you keep giving them chances, a team like that is going to score.”
In the girls game, Cady scored in the first and second halves and Lyndee Mansfield added a goal to give the Eagles their second district win.
Cady spent the past two weeks sidelined with a concussion sustained against Palm Harbor University. Tuesday was her first game cleared to play, and both of her goals came on headers.
“What better way to come back than with a header,” Cady said. “We were talking at practice (Monday) about how we had to be willing to take chances so I thought, why not try?”
Her first goal was the only one of the first half. Maggie Amos delivered a through ball Cady headed past goalkeeper Callie Grabel.
The Eagles (5-2) increased the lead to 2-0 in the second half. Mansfield chased down a ball near the left sideline and launched a right-footer from about 20 yards. The shot arched over Grabel’s head and nestled into the upper-right corner.
Plant (2-3) made things interesting with 18 minutes to play when Maren Burns scored from close range. The Panthers almost tied it with six minutes left, but Eagles goalkeeper Mackenzie Nalven made a diving save on a shot by Emily Evangelista.